Pop in for a yarn Ann Dewey, the world-famous, award-winning choreographer, perches on a couch covered with a crocheted throw in shades of vibrant red. As her fingers perform a filigree dance to the click-clack of knitting needles, Ann talks about her latest project: the Knitting Truck. “I wanted to create a mobile knitting shop for folk to come and sit, chat and knit, buy supplies and knitwear, and connect with other craftspeople,” says Ann.
In truth, the Knitting Truck is not actually a truck. While Ann searches for a suitable mobile home for her fibre art, the devoted Leigh resident has parked her intensely hued yarns and hand-knitted garments for the summer in the gallery attached to Charlie’s ice cream parlour between Warkworth and Matakana.
Ann learned her handicraft from her grandmother and the time-honoured skill has served her well in her travels around the world as a choreographer. “We’d hang around studios for hours during dance rehearsals and I like to keep my hands engaged. I’d ferret out the local knitting shop, buy my needles and yarn and make up my own patterns.”
In 2009, her dance company, Spinning Sun, performed a contemporary dance entitled Left and Right. “All the costumes and set were knitted by hand. Garments arrived in my Leigh PO Box from knitters all over the world,” grins Ann. She brings out one of the costumes; a weighty, salmon pink skirt created from fabric she’d shredded then knitted. The entire dance project took two years to complete.
It seems there are many parallels between choreography and knitting. Both are saturated in texture, there is a sense of delight, a playful joy in experimenting with pattern and form. In the rhythm of the needles there is music for the soul.
Now, Ann wants to pass on this joyful art. She has noticed “a Renaissance in all handcrafts. People are returning to the idea of making things by hand. They’re stepping away from the synthetic trend and embracing beautiful locally-made products. I stock a huge variety of yarn – my favourite is hand-dyed by my neighbour whose company is called ‘Dye-Happy’.”
Ann encourages people to come along a give knitting a try. “New converts could start with something simple like the humble dishcloth,” she advises. Pop in to Ann’s Knitting Truck for a yarn. Who knows, you might just become entangled in knitting’s woolly web.
The Knitting Truck Open 10am-5pm, 7 days | Gatherings: Wed 10-12pm, Sat 1-4pm
www.anndeweydesigns.com | T: 021 982 678