Meander Valley Gazette

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Blue Farmer searches the skies

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
A dozen people plus the media gathered in a paddock outside Ashley Youth Detention Centre for the assembly of the Blue Farmer.   Photo | Mike Moores

A dozen people plus the media gathered in a paddock outside Ashley Youth Detention Centre for the assembly of the Blue Farmer.

Photo | Mike Moores

Feburary 2019 | Hayley Manning

TAKE THE old Meander Valley Road toward Ashley Youth Detention Centre and you will see a big Blue Farmer surveying the surrounding landscape. Bruny Island artist, Grietje van Randen, designed the first Blue Farmer in her ‘Sprokkelwood’ open garden to raise awareness about people in the community with depression, after a spate of tragic events in her partner’s farming family.

The third Farmer project began in 2018, when Tasmanian Craft Fair Director, Lesley Dare, invited Grietje to the all-new Community Arts Tent, where 250 locals and visitors took part in knitting garments from recycled blue twine on purpose-built dowel knitting needles. The completed garments were then sewn together and fitted onto a PVC frame, designed and made by the Ashley students.

Grietje stipulates all Blue Farmers must be positioned scanning the landscape to remind people to ‘look out’ for each other when they drive past, and they are to be created by local community volunteers. “The process of sitting together while the hands are busy allows people to open up and work through things.

This is of immense value if you are having a hard time,” Grietje said. “You might only need one conversation to make a difference.”