A fun way to make a point about a serious issue

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In these tough economic times, anything that brings a little lightness into our lives has to be welcomed. So we applaud all those members of Knit Pompey who have put a smile on people’s faces with their distinctly different art project.

These self-styled ‘guerilla’ knitters have been busy with their needles to brighten up parts of the city, while at the same time making a point about the financial crisis and the plight of homeless people.

Today the group’s co-founder, Joanna Malec, tells how their decorating of a bus stop got a great reaction with people keen to share their views. Every comment card that was handed out came back with a positive message.

The fun but thought-provoking installation featured a table, chair and lamp covered in knitting. On the table there was even a woolly teapot, mug and fry-up.

Joanna says: ‘The cost of living has gone up so much recently and homelessness is a big problem. We wanted people to think about that and by doing it through art we could take on the subject in a subtle way.’

It’s not the first time that knitters have brought some colour to the community. The craze of ‘yarn bombing’, covering drab street furniture such as lampposts with bright strips of knitted wool, has already hit Portsmouth.

But this time Knit Pompey didn’t just want to make people laugh. There was a serious message too and it was conveyed in a truly innovative way for the price of a few balls of wool.

Some art tends to get criticised for being remote and pretentious. But this project proves that art can be used to connect with people and make a powerful statement.

We look forward to more installations from the Knit Pompey members springing up across the city. Locations will include Guildhall Square and the arches in the Hot Walls, Old Portsmouth.

They’re not saying what knitted objects will be making an appearance next time round. But it’s safe to assume they’ll be an entertaining diversion from daily life, something to smile and talk about.

Congratulations to all the knitters for showing that where’s wool, there’s a way.