Winning Beanie Results

2017 Weaving the Magic

Celebrating twenty ONE years of the Alice Springs Beanie Festival

In 2017 we invite you to enter into the forests of the imagination with us. The world is in

need of a dose of magic, so dream up the fantastical, and bewitch us with your

beanies. Show us a world where things are not always as they seem!

Magical Worlds Prize For a beanie incorporating a magical creature, person or place.Ghosts, gollums, faeries, sphinxes and monsters from any tradition are welcome.

A Magical Beanie Design a beanie for a magical person or creature: a forest crown, a battle headdress, protective gear for a dragon-rider, or a thinking cap for a wise owl.Feel free to create your own creature or character.

Campfire YarnsBeanie Remember a story that gave you sweet dreams or nightmares? This prize is for a beanie about story telling. Celebrate the storyteller. Or create something from a story or a poem that entered your imagination and never left.

Creature Feature Beanie A beanie celebrating birds, animals, sea-life, insects or invertebrates.

Spirit of the Land
A beanie celebrating our desert, forest, coast, bush and urban or magical landscapes.

Heart Felt Prize Celebrating felting: Including wet felting, nuno-felting, needle felting or knit and felt techniques at the festival.

Embellishment Prize A prize for a piece that uses beads or seeds, feathers, tjanpi, embroidery, stitching or other embellishment to create a remarkable piece of work.

Peoples' Choice WInner

The Eileen Bladon Tea-Cosy Prize
Celebrating the tea cosie, as a sister object to the beanie.

Children’s Prize A prize for a beanie maker under 12 years who has created a masterpiece, according to their age and skill level.

New Wave Prize A prize for a beanie maker 12-19 years of age, who has shown skill and thought in their work.Celebrating a bit of zaniness. For a beanie that invites interaction and fun.

Central Australian Prize A prize for a magnificent work made by an artist from Central Australia and surrounding communities.

The Mad Cap Prize Celebrating a bit of zaniness. For a beanie that invites interaction and fun.

Alice Springs Beanie Festival 2017

June 23-26, Exhibition June 23-July 17

The 2017 Alice Springs Beanie Festival was another huge success. 480 beanie makers from around the world sent in 6521 handmade creations to Beanie Central and 295 exquisite beanies to the National Beanie Exhibition. 7000 visitors attended the festival purchasing over 4300 beanies worth $178 000 breaking records of past years. 120 volunteers from around the globe also travelled to Alice Springs to help us run the best Festival ever.

In May beanie making workshops were held over 2 weeks in the town camps of Alice Springs (Larapinta Valley, Hidden Valley and Karnte Camp). Kristian Malenski and Julie Kitson (Indigenous beanie maker from Willowra community) were the workshop tutors. The workshops were well attended (about 25 participants) and the resulting beanies were gorgeous. Some beanies won prizes in the National Beanie Competition and many were sold over the 3-week exhibition generating funds for the beanie makers. These workshops were funded by a grant from ArtsNT Community Festivals fund.

Unfortunately, funding was unsuccessful for the Festival to run the popular remote Indigenous community beanie making workshops and many communities were sad to miss out this year. But the artists of Titjikala who love beanie making very much went ahead with some volunteers and made their own creations for the Exhibition. A collaborative piece called ‘Mai Wiru’ was one of the most detailed and stunning works ever seen at the Beanie Festival. It took out several awards including the coveted Peoples’ Choice, the first-time Indigenous artists have one this award. The artists of Titjikala were also inducted into the National Beanie Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions to the Festival over many years.

Happily funding was found (through ArtsNT and FestivalsNT) to bring the artists from Titjikala and from the Town Camps to attend the Festival weekend. 18 Indigenous artists ran beanie making workshops and demonstrations for the visiting public. Over 50 people sat with the artists over the weekend (and hundreds more watched quietly on). They learnt how to needle felt a beanie, the cultural stories told in the beanies and some local Indigenous words for pictures in the beanies. It was an amazing exchange of stories and culture as everyone sat together peacefully creating art.

The artists of Ernabella missed out on workshops this year too. But we sent down fleeces and yarns and the women got to it in their own homes spinning and crocheting a storm of beanies that were sold at the Festival. For the first time in 16 years we lacked the funding and physical means of bring the ladies into the Festival. They were very sad to miss the Festival this year and we hope to have them back in 2018. The spinners of Ernabella are aging and many have passed away. We hope to record the traditional spinning techniques and find funding to teach the younger generations before it is too late.

The Beanie Festival was born 21 years ago because of a workshop to teach the Indigenous women of Yuendumu beanie making. We consider our core business is to include the Indigenous artists of Central Australia. It is what sets us apart from other beanie festivals. They love being a part of the Festival learning new skills and the public love meeting them and seeing their works. We hope to be able to continue to include them in future festivals.

In the lead up marketing was extensive with advertisements in both art and travel magazines and websites (Textile Fire Forum, Embellish, Felt, Frankie Magazine, Fibre Art Now, Arts Hub, Outback We had a lot of local and national press coverage before and over the Festival. With stories and interviews in National Fairfax publications, Seniors magazine, ABC Alice Springs, ABC Darwin, ABC Sydney, Radio National, ABC TV NT, ABC TV news NSW, Art Alamac, Koori Mail, National Community Radio, Centralian Advocate, Alice Springs News, NT news, Stawell Gazette and Vitality magazine.

 Now, Homespun, Centralian Advocate and Alice Springs News, 8HA, SunFM radio and 8CCC). We were also listed on ‘What’s On’ calendars in ResidentNT, QANTAS Spirit magazine, Art Alamac, ArtsHub, Art Trail magazine and RedHotArts. Posters were distributed around Australia and throughout Alice Springs and the NT. We had a website presence on Trip Advisor, ATDW, Alice Springs Town Council, Tourism Central Australia and TourismNT. We also posted frequently on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

The Festival weekend started with a Sponsors morning tea in the Exhibition Gallery which was well attended by both Government and private sectors hearing the story of the Festival and enjoying the amazing array of beanies.

On the Friday night the official opening was well attended. This was primarily sponsored by the Alice Springs Town Council. The stage (set up in the Araluen carpark) was adorned with the giant beanie and we were entertained by an array of local performers both Indigenous and others, including Drum Atweme, Circosis, Rusty and the Infidels, Yapa Aboriginal Styles and Colin Lillee. The winning beanie show was also announced and His Worship the Mayor Damien Ryan opened the Festival. There were 8 local food stalls and the Araluen Bar was open creating a humming, exciting Alice Springs night.

The rest of the week-end was full off many events. Central Craft held 30 textile workshops which were well attended, Tjanpi Desert Weavers ran 2 workshops both sold out, the Purple House had a bush medicine stall, 8CCC did live broadcast with interviews and music, there was a children’s craft workshop where lovely, old ladies taught many enthusiastic children, free crochet workshops, needle felting with the Indigenous artists, fundraising for Blue Beanies for Brain Cancer, our famous teashop, cake stall and BBQ and of the course the thrill of the chase in Beanie Central to find the perfect beanie and the intrigue of the National Beanie Exhibition creations.

Through a generous donation we offered a Youth Scholarship again this year inviting a young person to join the Committee and learn about putting on a Festival, thereby bringing the younger generation into the mix. Eremaya won the scholarship and spent 10 days helping to curate the Exhibition, set up Beanie Central, produce video and photograph content for Social Media, work in the teashop and catalogue the beanies. She was a fabulous asset to the Festival and learnt many new skills.

We also took the effort to look after our volunteers this year. Most travel from around the world to attend the Festival, many had been before and knew the ropes the rest were Beanie Virgins. We had a Volunteers Welcome Drinks prior to opening to share what the weekend will bring and meet one another, then on the Sunday night a thank-you dinner at the Gillen Club with the chance to relax, mingle and share stories and adventures.

The National Beanie Tour around galleries around Australia is in its 9###sup/sup### year and continues to draw large crowds and promote the Festival and the NT as a destination. We also held a small retrospective exhibition for 3 weeks over the Festival at the Residency in Alice Springs. And we finally completed the Longest Beanie in the World measuring 500 meters, we hope to get it into the record books in the coming months.

Feedback through social media, evaluations and visitors book were all very positive. The volunteers and beanie makers were all thrilled to be a part of the Beanie Festival. And the committee proud of what we achieved. Hooray!!!