Otago Museum hosting exhibition of knitted animal skeletons

Otago Museum is hosting an exhibition of animal skeletons 15 years in the making.

The collection includes two life-sized giraffes, an elephant and 54 frogs. The works are a labour of love, and they've all been knitted by one dedicated Dunedin artist.

Michele Beevors' life-size knitted giraffe skeleton stands a towering four metres tall.

It's an element of the Anatomy Lesson exhibition, and a labour of love for the Dunedin artist.

"This work has taken me around 15 years and every night I work on it for a good four hours," she says.

Knitting is her passion project - she also works at the Otago Polytechnic's Dunedin School of Art.

"It's like a second nature now, I can do it in the dark while I'm reading subtitles," she says.

The skeletons were inspired by natural history exhibits, designed to reflect human's relationship with animals.

"The deeper meanings behind this exhibition are around species loss, human impact and the trade history of animals around the world," Natural Science Tūhura Otago Museum curator Emma Burns says.

It's the first special exhibition in Otago Museum's Animal Attic - a shrine to Victorian taxidermy.

"It's basically a gallery of the diversity of life on our planet," Burns adds.

These pieces were influenced by anatomical exhibits in Sydney, Paris and Vienna. But the woollen threads also bind Beevors' life.

"It's helped through personal loss and it helps me with eco-anxiety. The only thing I can do is knit and do my recycling," Beevors says.

She spent three days studying a giraffe skeleton before creating her first piece.

"The care for the animals is already embedded in the knitting," Beevors says.

Fifteen years' worth of care and attention.