The fabulous Rosie Rivette is a mental health support worker during the day, and usually a burlesque dancer and art model by night. But lockdowns have derailed both halves of her professional life, with the latter on hold and the day job forced to happen over the phone, instead of in-person. As enthusiastically upbeat as she is, she acknowledges. “It’s actually really hard to be on the phone for hours and just remain focused, and the clients I’m supporting are going through really stressful times as well, so I started crocheting as a coping mechanism to soothe my anxiety.”
Teaching herself the technique via YouTube, Rivette’s inspired imagination took over. It’s safe to say her unique focus on vulva beer stubbies and boob plant holders, crocheted bikinis and penis wall hangings aren’t the first things that spring to mind when you mention the knitting-adjacent hobby. But her mates were bowled over and soon suggested she sell them on Instagram. A cottage industry exploded.
“It’s my way of preserving my love of characters, costume and performance, and celebrating bodies and nudity,” she says. And her careers have a really beautiful way of overlapping, bringing mental health, crochet and body positivity together as one. “I’ve done cossies for women who have had double mastectomies, and a body harness for a very beautiful, voluptuous man. It’s about celebration of every body, in every form.”
Rivette never expected her works to become as popular as they have, but she’s been flooded with super-appreciative pics of folks posing with her crocheted works. “It makes me realise that people really appreciate things that are made by hand, where you know love and time and energy has gone into that object. It’s so heart-warming. It just shows how beautiful the sense of community we’ve created is and how supportive everyone is of one another. I’m so grateful for it.”