Otago Museum hosts exhibit of knitted animal skeletons

Michele Beevors’ life-size knitted giraffe skeleton is four meters tall.

It is an element of the Anatomy Lesson exhibition and a labor of love for the Dunedin artist.

“This job took me about 15 years and every night I work on it for a good four hours,” she says.

Knitting is her passion project – she also works at the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic.

“It’s like second nature now, I can do it in the dark while I read subtitles,” she says.

The skeletons were inspired by natural history exhibits, designed to reflect man’s relationship with animals.

“The deep meanings behind this exhibit relate to species loss, human impact and the history of the world’s animal trade,” said Emma Burns, curator of the Tūhura Otago Museum of Natural Sciences.

This is the first special exhibit in the Museum of Otago’s Animal Attic, a sanctuary dedicated to Victorian taxidermy.

“It’s basically a gallery of the diversity of life on our planet,” Burns adds.

These pieces were influenced by anatomical exhibits in Sydney, Paris and Vienna. But woolen threads also bind the lives of Beevors.

“It helps me overcome my personal losses and it helps me with eco-anxiety. The only thing I can do is knit and recycle,” says Beevors.

She spent three days studying a giraffe skeleton before creating her first piece.

“Animal care is already built into knitting,” says Beevors.

Fifteen years of care and attention.

About Carlos V. Mitchell

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