7 September 2021

The only iconic bus shelter where adding your art is actively encouraged

| Lottie Twyford
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Kirrily Burnett's cardboard bus stop

If you’re expecting a bus to come past this stop, you could be waiting a while, says creator Kirrily Burnett. Photo: Rebecca Worth.

They’ve been immortalised in earrings, cartoons and mugs, but it’s most likely the first time a Canberra bus stop has been recreated in cardboard.

It was the combination of an unprecedented amount of spare time and inordinate amounts of cardboard that led Palmerson’s Kirrily Burnett on what would turn out to be a bit of an adventure.

After unsuccessfully trying to dispose of the cardboard through the usual means, which were all shut at the time due to the lockdown, she decided to challenge herself to turn what was originally the packaging of a desk and chair into a bus stop.

Kirrily soon found out that Canberra’s archives contained a wealth of information on the iconic shelters.

“The original plans for the concrete bus shelters were already in the archives, so I started with those before also finding that someone had worked out the dimensions of the shelter and uploaded them to a 3D printing website,” she said.

Art on the cardboard bus stop

Just some of the finer details paying homage to the Nation’s Capital. Photo: Rebecca Worth.

That’s why the finished product looks so much like the real thing — she followed the real plans.

But even with these in her possession, it didn’t immediately all go to plan.

First, wrangling large bits of cardboard turned out to be more difficult than Kirrily had initially anticipated.

Second, sticky tape wasn’t always Kirrily’s best friend.

But she was also dealing with the niggling thought in the back of her mind that the whole thing was a bit of a ‘silly idea’.

Thanks to the encouragement of her husband and friends, as well as the delivery of a hot glue gun to alleviate the tape problem, she persevered.

Looking back on the process, Kirrily is surprised at how much maths she had to use.

“To do the circles, I was using pi r², which is a formula I literally haven’t used nor thought about since I was at school,” she laughed.

It came as a pleasant surprise that she could still remember how to do this.

“I knew I wanted to make something that people could interact with on the way past, so that’s why I kept going, and it really has been worth it,” she explained.

Located on Laptz Close, which is quite a prominent position in the suburb of Palmerston, Kirrily says it was immediately warmly received.

“I actively don’t watch when people are out because, well, that would be a bit weird,” she said.

“But I’ll go out there of an afternoon and have a look at what’s been added throughout the day.”

For Kirrily, it’s especially nice to see all the little scribbles which show her the littlest of the community’s artists are getting involved.

Not being on Facebook, Kirrily didn’t realise how much of a reaction the bus stop had been getting on social media, and she says it’s nice to hear that it’s putting a smile on people’s faces who might not be able to travel to see it in person.

Kirrily invites anyone local to come and add their personal touch to the art stop.

Right now, visitors can look out for Bluey, flags, Indigenous art and the iconic Belconnen owl statue.

She’s put out clean pens and textas in one bucket and asks visitors to put used ones into a separate tub for her to wash at the end of the day.

Older artists who might be interested in creating something more elaborate can drop off their art on a piece of cardboard for Kirrily to attach to the stop.

She also hopes to inspire other Canberrans who might be finding themselves with more spare time than ever before to get creative with their excess cardboard.

“Who knows? Maybe we could have a cardboard Telstra Tower in Duffy?”

Original Article published by Lottie Twyford on The RiotACT.

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