Harbourside Lodge Helps Knitting Campaign

Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Residents of Harbourside Lodge are doing their bit to help a major community art project in Portland.

The residents are finger-knitting material from T-shirts to contribute to the `9 Knitted Narrabans’ (9KN) project for this year’s Upwelling Festival.

PDH community engagement officer Carolyn Malseed said the Harbourside Lodge residents were embracing the task.

“We had a trial run and it was a huge success. The knitting was fun and it was also a great opportunity for the residents to chat and reminisce while contributing to the community,” Ms Malseed said.

They will continue the knitting through September with support from staff and volunteers.

Photos will be taken of the finished art work to show residents who are unable to attend the festival.

The Upwelling Festival and local community arts group South West Alternative Medium Project (SWAMP) are behind the 9KN under the guidance of local Indigenous artist Kellie Frankland.

The 9KN will be a contemporary shape like traditional Gunditjmara eel traps made with old donated adult sized T-shirts which have been stripped into ‘yarn balls’ and finger knitted. They will then be woven using traditional weaving techniques. The project will require more than 1000 donated T-shirts to strip, finger knit and weave.

The narraban structures will be hung from light poles along the foreshore for the Festival.

The Upwelling Festival celebrates the Bonney Upwelling, an epic natural ocean occurrence off the coast of Portland that powers a seven-month feeding frenzy of marine life, including blue whales.  As a part of the seasonal upwelling cycle, short-finned eels migrate in the ocean from New Caledonia to breed upstream in local rivers. Local indigenous people, the Gunditjmara, traditionally exploited this food source by ‘trapping’ eels in woven cone-shaped ‘baskets’, called a ‘Narraban’.

The project was made possible by the Australian Government’s regional arts program, the Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australians better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts. The Regional Arts Fund is administered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.

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