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Why does a Tree need a Sweater?

The man in grey on the footpath to Jewell Station has opinions about yarn bombing that he is loudly expressing to his girlfriend.

“A sweater for a tree! What the fuck does a tree need a sweater for?”

And a little bit further on: “A sweater for a pole!”

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I’ve never seen someone who hates yarn bombing with such passion. The focus of his anger was Yarn Corner’s work around Jewell Station.

For the length of the whole block between Barkely and Union streets, every pole, tree and rail was wearing a blue and yellow sweater. There are diamond pattern, bees on hexagonal patterns, spider webs patterns and the faces on poles. It has a complete artistic vision and the knitting is now amazing. The work of 24 women who are part of the enormous Yarn Corner collective.

There is the contrast between the careless fly tipping rubbish at the carpark and the careful knitting that covered the poles. There is so much long neglected space, derelict factory space and crude carpark, around Jewell Station.

Last year I was on a panel discussion about public art when I discover why it was being conducted in a tent outside Jewell Station.  It there was because there are big plans for the area around Jewell Station. The new micro park with the urban bouldering and the two massive murals at the end of Wilson Avenue is part of these plans. Another part is street art projects like Yarn Corner’s project.

So to answer the question posed by angry man in grey: why does a tree need a sweater? It doesn’t and that is, paradoxically, the reason why trees and poles around do need sweaters because art and design are a way of organising some of the excess generated in society.

There is a lot of excess in society, excess time and excess stuff, it can be art or rubbish. Knitting for yarn bombing is excessive, spray painting a wall in the street is excessive, as is the excess of the vinyl couch and other trash that has been dumped around Jewell Station. The disorganised excess, the rubbish is often ignored. The organised excess is intended to attract attention, to enhance a neglected space and create holding power in the place.

For more on Yarn Corner’s project at Jewell Station see Open Journal.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

4 responses to “Why does a Tree need a Sweater?

  • Eugene Mott

    I was wondering if there was something more to this when I passed it on my ride to work. Thanks. And great to have you back from your (well deserved) break away.

  • Mark Holsworth

    Cheers, Eugene, it was good to have a break and good to be back writing about Brunswick.

  • Vivienne Hughes

    I’m happy for you to yarn bomb poles and other inanimate objects and will enjoy the results of your work, but I draw the line at trees. In winter you are significantly increasing the chance of fungal infection for the tree (much like piling grass cuttings around the tree base). Isn’t the tree intrinsically beautiful?

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