Gang of knitters have Hong Kong street covered for Halloween with colourful ‘yarn bombing’ display

Esther Poon Suk-han and her band of ‘guerilla knitting’ artists have got Pottinger Street all wrapped up for next week’s spooky celebration

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 October, 2017, 7:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 October, 2017, 2:06am

A Hong Kong artist has given the city’s historic Pottinger Street an unusual makeover for Halloween by covering its roadside structures with colourful “knitted graffiti”.

Esther Poon Suk-han has been knitting over railings, road signs, trees and fences in an effort to bring so-called guerilla knitting to the urban landscape.

The yarn bomber, as practitioners are commonly known, has been a keen knitter for 30 years but only began taking the art to the streets in 2012.

On Sunday, Poon and seven other guerilla knitters, some of whom were her students, wrapped railings on Pottinger Street in the downtown district of Central with crocheted fabric featuring eerie patterns and 12 Halloween-themed characters including a witch.

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She has previously carried out yarn bombing projects in Central, Causeway Bay and Sheung Wan during Christmas and Lunar New Year. Her last project was also on Pottinger Street where she dressed railings in festive patterns for Christmas.

“I want to do something fresh this year by taking on Halloween for the first time,” the artist said.

“I hope to bring happiness and smiles to the public through my artwork ... and to demystify art. People don’t have to go to a museum or gallery to appreciate art. Any landmark on the street can be a museum.”

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But Poon said she had noticed some small features of the latest installation had been damaged or taken away, including a knitted bat on top of a woven Jack Skellington.

“I don’t mind people appreciating it in different ways,” Poon said. “I put it out there in public, so people will do what they want to do.”

It took the team of eight two months to create the scary display and four hours to install it on the street. All contributed their spare time to the project and paid out of their own pockets for the materials.

Poon is a freelance personal trainer who used to teach weekly knitting classes to about 15 students before she stopped due to time constraints.

She first tried yarn bombing when American Magda Sayeg, who is often credited with starting the street art phenomenon in Texas, brought an exhibition to Hong Kong in 2012.

Poon has since taken on more than a dozen knitting projects creating artwork for restaurants, galleries and charities. A knitted tennis chair she made raised HK$20,000 at a charity event in 2014 to promote sport among underprivileged secondary school students.