ART

Guerilla knitter Esther Poon has Causeway Bay in stitches

City's very own 'yarn bomber' turns eyes with her colourful, knitted art installations

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 4:14am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 4:14am
 

A personal trainer has had the city in stitches this Lunar New Year - and her woolly thinking might just catch on.

Esther Poon Suk-han is the city's first "yarn bomber". Her strange pattern of behaviour includes knitting over structures such as railings, trees, road signs and fences.

"I studied design when I was young, but soon gave it up when I went into the real world," Poon said. "It would have been impossible to feed myself otherwise."

She started knitting while working as a receptionist, and it soon became her creative outlet.

Her latest project is in Causeway Bay, where she has created huge, knitted mandarins and brightly coloured chains wrapped around railings along Kingston Street.

Poon first tried yarn bombing - also known as knit graffiti and guerilla knitting - when Texan Magda Sayeg, who started the street art phenomenon, came to Hong Kong in 2012.

At the time, Sayeg invited Poon to take part in her "I Knit MK" exhibition in Mong Kok.

Yarn bombing took off in 2005, when Sayeg knitted a piece for the door handle of her Houston boutique.

Poon has been busy on the knit graffiti front ever since, with two commercial projects creeping along railings in Causeway Bay and some yarn bombing in Sheung Wan. Her work can be seen in Tai Ping Shan Road and in Ladder and Pottinger streets.

"What Magda does inspired me to think outside the box. In a place so starved of space and so urban, knit graffiti creates interesting juxtapositions with the shiny buildings and modern architecture," Poon said.

She said many artists in the city struggled because there was a lack of support from both the community and the government.

But is guerilla knitting too loopy to last?

"Hongkongers are easily excited about novel ideas, but not many people have the will to persevere. Yarn bombing may just be a passing trend," Poon admits. "I hope it lasts, but for now I'm grateful for the opportunity to showcase my work."

Poon is no nitwit, and said she could not see herself surviving on yarn bombing alone.

"Hong Kong only has finance and banking. It would be impossible to support myself just on this," she said.

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