Griffith’s Natty Knitters & The Knitted GardenThroughout July, Parramatta City Library held an exhibition of the amazing Knitted Garden, the work of a group of dedicated knitters and crocheters from Griffith in South West New South Wales.
The genesis of the Griffith Natty Knitters lies in the 2009 ‘World Wide Knit-in-Public Day’, when Griffith City Council hosted a knit-in in the Library. Further events, such as the ‘Wrap with Love’ knit-in, which included an ‘Extreme Knitting’ event, led to Liz Brooks, who was coordinating the events, suggesting a weekly knitting/crocheting group.
As the group grew and their talents expanded, Liz came up with the idea for the Knitted Garden, with the plan of entering it in the Griffith Regional Art Gallery Flower Power exhibition in 2010, as part of the Annual Griffith Festival of Gardens and Sculptures.
With the support of the Griffith City Council and a home base in the Griffith Library, the Natty Knitters were born. The project began with Liz knitting a single vase of daffodils and entering it in the 2009 Flower Power exhibition. This was accompanied by a flyer advertising the group and encouraging members of the community to join and contribute to the Knitted Garden.
A floor plan of the garden was drawn to scale in order to determine the quantity and type of yarn that was needed. The Natty Knitters then applied for, and received, a grant through the NSW Country Arts Support Program (CASP), which assisted them in acquiring the materials they needed for support structures and any special yarns.
The garden took on a life of its own, with knitted and crocheted contributions from all over NSW and Tasmania, and even from friends and relatives in the UK, the USA and New Zealand. By completion, nearly 250 people had contributed to the garden in some form, with the age range of the artisans spanning five to 100 years.
The garden, which was the hit of the 2010 Flower Power exhibition, includes a vibrantly coloured flower garden, a healthy veggie patch, a water fountain, a deckchair, garden tools, insects, birds, pets, and a bear’s house complete with teddy bear, and it’s all knitted or crocheted.
As is evident in its exhibition at Parramatta City Library, the Knitted Garden has travelled widely across NSW, bringing its message of community and creativity to delighted audiences throughout the region.
The Knitted Garden continues to play an important social role in the lives of many in the Griffith region. The Natty Knitters have become a vital part of the community, encouraging dozens of men, women and children to become involved in knitting and crocheting, and giving advice and assistance with knitting problems.
Evelyn G of the Natty Knitters says, “We aren’t just sharing skills, we’re sharing satisfaction and pleasure in creating something unique together.”