People of Penola

Penola’s Trevor Smith has amazed people all over the world with his incredible crochet creations.

Mr Smith said his mother taught him to crochet when he was 10 years old.

“Making things has always been a past-time or a hobby when I was professionally working,” he said.

“I have always made different things at different times, but for the last 12 years it’s been purely crochet.”

Mr Smith was born in Penola and grew up at Joanna, just outside of Naracoorte.

For 35 years Mr Smith worked professionally in the arts industry as a curator until he retired in 2019 and moved to Penola.

“I started gravitating back to the area and got to know some people and as I was getting closer to retirement I decided it was a good place to be and be a bit closer to extended family, it’s a great little town,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s an area that will always be prosperous.”

After high school, Mr Smith completed a three-year visual arts course in Warrnambool, majoring in sculpture.

His works combine his knowledge of sculpture and crochet, as the course furthered his skills with creating three-dimensional works.

In 2009 Mr Smith was involved with a Regional Arts Victoria project where he created crochet pieces including water lilies, a bird in a tree with a nest and some rocks, which reignited his love for crochet and three-dimensional crocheting.

Mr Smith pushes the boundaries of crochet, creating anything from tea cosies to retro household appliances, floral arrangements and food such as platters, cakes and sandwiches.

His crochet works can take anywhere from eight to 40 hours to complete, using additional materials including wire, stuffing, foam rubber and polystyrene to give them structure and form.

“I like the challenge of making crochet do things that it probably should not do,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s very therapeutic, I like the repetitiveness of crocheting, thousands of stitches that are all the same, I like playing with shapes and colour and that sort of thing.”

In 2017, Mr Smith was involved in a small exhibition at the Michael Reid Gallery in Sydney, which offered to represent him.

“It’s quite an honour to be represented by a commercial gallery,” he said.

“For a gallery to have faith in you and your work and to take you on and to give that commitment to exhibit and promote your work.”

Mr Smith’s creations have been admired by people all over the world, showcased at exhibitions in Sydney, Berlin, Melbourne and locally at Bellwether Wines.

His work will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ballarat during April, 2022.

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