9 Knitted Narrabans



12/12 is please to announce the inclusion of some of the 9 Knitted Narrabans, made originally for the Portland Upwelling Festival 2013. (http://www.upwellingfestival.com.au/) Their inclusion in this show means that locals and visitors, to the town will be able to enjoy them for a further 2 months, over the Christmas period.

The 9 Knitted Narrabans are a joyous sight to behold. They are sophisticated in structure, vibrant in colour, enormous and finger knitted from over 1000 cut up t-shirts. They look like huge 1950’s bathing hats with tentacles and were made by over 200 members of the community, from the elderly, school children, members of Swamp Inc and the Indigenous community. Ingenious really.

Deb Saunders, Coordinator of Swamp Inc, designed the Narrabans and was assisted by Kellie Frankland to facilitate and manage the project and to assemble the finger knitting into the Narrabans, which were then hung for a day on the local foreshore.

For those who are not equated with a Narraban, it is the Guntijmara word for Eel trap, used by the Gundtijmara People to capture Eels. The Gundtijmara People are the traditional Indigenous owners of this area and have been using aquaculture techniques to harvest eels for 1000s of years.

I thought I’d ask Deb Saunders, the face behind the Narrabans, a few questions about the design and theme of the Narrabans. She said one of the things she had in mind when she came up with the design were the incredible knitted and fibre installations of Joana Vasconcetos. http://www.joanavasconcelos.com/index.aspx. You might take a look at Vasconcetos’s The Bride.  Only a gifted artist could do what she did with 4000 tampons.

Deb concluded that the Narrabans fitted with the 12/12 exhibition theme as they are made from recycled materials and reflected a time and a people who live harmoniously and sustainably with this land.

I’d like to thank Deb, Kellie and the members of Swamp Inc for exhibiting with 12/12 this year. If you would like to contact Deb and ask questions about the installation you can pop on down to the 12/12 show or email her on  Deb Saunders <ds.swamp@hotkey.net.au>. Cheer Cat.




  1. Yes we are uploading more photos tomorrow. It is cool. You’ll be suitably impressed. Hows your work? Getting much chance now that Autumn has set in?
    Thanks Mr artistatexit0

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