Northern Ireland

Belfast statues togged up with 'knits' for craft month

Yarn bombing: Siobhan Barbour keeps a Belfast statue warm
Image caption Yarn bombing: Siobhan Barbour keeps a Belfast statue warm

The famous shepherd and sheep sculpture outside Belfast's Waterfront Hall has been "yarn bombed".

It's graffiti meets knitting - and statues across the city could soon be sporting colourful knits to celebrate August craft month in the city.

So far, the shepherd has been promised a scarf and the sheep warm tops to keep out the chill of a Belfast summer.

Knitters Siobhan Barbour, Claire Concannon and Gemma Withers have promised visitors fresh style.

The traditional tour of the city sights is turning crafty.

Joe Kelly, director of Craft NI, said he hoped the project would help inspire the public to find out more about the creative and skilled work of Northern Ireland's designer makers.

'Eyes of an artist'

"Belfast, with its historical position as the hub of the linen industry, is an ideal place for people to rediscover the joy of working with textiles to make their own, unique products.

"The city is known for its colourful murals and street art.

"Yarn bombing is an extension of this communal and collaborative process of adding colour and interest through exploring familiar locations through the eyes of an artist."

Yarn bombing is just one of the skills featured in craft month, organised by Craft NI.

The idea of yarn bombing or 'graffiti knitting' originates from the US, where knitters decided to find new and creative ways of using leftover material.

The practice has really taken off, with artists and craftspeople throughout the world using knitted and crocheted materials to add splashes of colour and texture to their built environment.

Knitting and crocheting groups have been formed throughout the world as a reaction to the mass production of cheap garments, the destruction of old skills and the commercial exploitation of third-world communities.

This project is just one of more than 40 events taking place during the month.

Its theme is "Slow Movement" and the focus is on spending time to rediscover skills.

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