Who knew that a tree covered in crochet knitting could look so splendid?
But hundreds of multi-coloured wool mandalas from across WA and around the globe are lighting up the once-blackened trees in our south-west.
The mandalas – spiritual symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe – have been crocheted by knitters worldwide, showing their solidarity and support for the townsfolk of Yarloop and Waroona whose properties were ravaged by bushfire in January last year.
“We started putting up the mandalas in April last year,” explains Tracy Goldsworthy, centre manager of the Waroona Visitors Centre.
“We were all so overwhelmed after the fires and wanted to do something to show our love and support for our communities.
“A lot of people wanted to help, but didn’t have a lot of spare cash so they’d use their creativity to make something to how much they care.”
At first, though, she had a few reservations about adding colour to blackened trees.
“I didn’t want to step on peoples’ toes; we were all so raw after the fires and I didn’t want to accidentally offend anyone.
But my heart said, ‘This is going to be beautiful,’ and in the end we just went for it.”
The mandalas are on trees out to Lake Clifton and Preston Beach and south to Cookernup.
“A team of volunteers came in and helped sort them into groups for distributing on the trees,” Tracy explains.
The response was overwhelming. Soon folk from as far away as London and Texas were sending in mandalas.
“One couple came in, their home had been burnt down in Yarloop and the gentleman was in tears, his family history was gone. They’d made us some mandalas to add to the collection.”
There are even colourful woollen snakes adorning some of the trees, whipped up by 88 year old Marie Thomas, who has dementia and can’t remember her contribution.
“But whenever she comes in, her face lights up!” says Tracy.
Starfish Photographs: Peter Rigby