HIGHLANDS CREATIVES // Alison Ayers
Meet Alison Ayers A.K.A yarn bomber Kitty Knitter!
This talented textile street artist splits her time between Bundanoon and Paris – how fabulous!! Her yarn bombing street installations are loved both here in the Highlands and on the streets of France.
We chatted to Alison about the world of yarn bombing and how her life has taken her along this path of woolly wonder!
1 // How did you get involved in yarn bombing and knitting?
The women in my family are masters of the needles - it was quite intimidating. I was drawn to create knits for urban spaces as a way to add some colour and smiles to life. And, frankly, the trees and poles don’t mind if you’ve slipped a few stitches!
2 // Who or what are your biggest influences or inspiration?
In the past I’ve been inspired by inner city streetscapes with a focus on pop art colours. Now I’m in the country, I want to work with the natural world and reflect the colours and textures I find here.
3 // What materials do you like to use in the process of creating what you do?
Most textile street artists use acrylic yarn as it is durable and fade resistant. I’ve moved into recycling yarn and using biodegradable natural fibres as it is kinder to the planet.
4 // What advice would you give anyone wanting to move into your field?
Be your own person, and ride your own donkey. The yarn bombing world is eating itself alive, no original work goes uncopied for long.
5 // Tell us about a creative highlight.
When I first started working in Paris I was very warmly accepted by the street artist community and met many locals who told me how they looked forward to my annual installations along the Seine. My greatest piece is always the next one. I’ve been working for a long time on a piece for a wall below the Louvre – I have it ready and waiting for the time after Covid-19 or maybe it will find a home here in Bundanoon.
And even though it wasn’t my creation, it was a great feeling to knit alongside my Mum for the 5000 Poppies project - it was one of the last things we did together.
6 // What challenges have you experienced?
I handknit, so pieces can take quite a while to develop. I’m scared of heights, so my trusty installer (a.k.a. the husband) does the ladder work when I install on trees. There has also been the odd nervous moment with police – but on the whole they like a cheerful addition to the streetscape and look the other way.
7 // What are your plans for the future?
I’ll continue to react to global and local events and political movements. I’d like to collaborate on some larger interior installations. Moving away from street art and into a more refined textile space.
8 // Why do you love being a creative in the Southern Highlands?
I love the community here – it seems like everyone I meet is an artist, musician or writer. There is breathing space here, and time to develop ideas more fully. I grew up in a small country town and this village of Bundanoon really feels like home. I hadn’t been here long when I met the women behind the Winterfest Pom Pom initiative, and it was delightful to contribute to that last year and be part of a local tradition.
9 // And what’s your connection to France?
My husband is an artist and we spend three months of each year in Paris – we both love a harsh winter!!
Fascinating, right??? You can check out more of Alison's colourful creations on Instagram here: @kitty_knitter