Editorial: Yarnbombs the new scourge of our streets

THE latest scourge to stalk the city’s streets is fluffy, colourful and smells when it gets wet. It goes by the name of “yarnbombing”.

Readers were divided at the weekend by a report on artist Shellabelle O’Connor’s colourful creation at the corner of Urquhart and Drummond streets.

Ms O’Connor worked for six months to create a woollen wrap for a telephone pole wishing passers-by a happy new year, complete with knitted flowers, an owl and all the colours of the rainbow.

The piece, she said, was part of an art movement called yarnbombing in which objects are covered in wool for display.

Ms O’Connor has previously created similar works in Victoria Park and her street in Enfield

“It’s had some good reactions, people have been videoing it and taking photographs of it,” she said of the Urquhart Street piece.

One fan of the artwork, who called The Courier to let us know about it, said it had brightened what had been an otherwise difficult start to her year.


Shellabelle O'Connor with her yarnbomb. PICTURE: TALITHA PRENDERGAST

Read our interview with Shellabelle O'Connor here

However, not everyone seems to see the appeal. Within an hour of the report, readers were calling for the yarnbombs – which apparently smell when it rains – to be banned.

“Is this council approved?” asked one reader.

“It’s vandalism,” said another. “If you ‘decorate’ something without the owner’s permission, that is illegal.”

It appears Ms O’Connor is the latest, and perhaps unlikeliest, artist to stir the debate about street art and vandalism that fires up in Ballarat every few months.

It just goes to show the power of a colourful imagination and a pair of knitting needles.

More grey on the horizon

Speaking of graffiti, at some point in the past few months a pink and orange mural on top of the MLC Building on Lydiard Street that was featured on the front page of The Courier was painted over in a shade of grey.

It’s up to the building’s owners how they decorate it, but The Courier will miss the splash of colour on the city’s skyline.

Perhaps the mural could have been replaced with something just as vibrant.

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