Kombi collecting couple spread the love

Now here's a yarn about a car loving couple and their Kombi and Caravan.

By Tania Phillips

When Warwick’s Lisa van Slobbe told her car enthusiast partner Louis she liked Kombi’s she had no idea what she’d started.

A short time later three Kombis arrived in their yard and so began the fascination with Kombis.

Lisa and Louis have now created the Kompound Artzone just outside of Warwick – a unique creative space on their property and their Kombi can often be seen around town.

In fact, their yarn-bombed Kombi and vintage caravan were one of the most talked about displays at Jumpers and Jazz in July when they were first displayed together in 2017.

And by popular demand they are back to wow crowds again at the event in 2024.

“We did it in 2017 but the original one we did was just the caravan alone and it was the year before in 2016,” Lisa said.

“I had this old vintage van that I’d planned on doing up but it was just sitting there and I decided to do a yarn bomb. We got people to send us squares from all over the country and we crocheted them together and it worked out really well.

“So, the next year I thought I might do a Kombi as well – why not.”

So why yarn bomb a caravan and a Kombi?

“Because they’re there and during the festival people yarn bomb all sorts of things. They yarn bomb pushbikes and buildings. I thought, because we have Kombis and caravans why not do that.”

Although they had always gone to JJJ every year, the caravan – nicknamed the egg – yarnbombing was the first thing they’d done for the event.

“I just thought let’s do something to participate that year and it was so popular that we decided to do whole outfit the next year,” she said.

“That’s what they will see again this time, though it will be slightly different because a couple of the blankets were given away. I’ll have to fill in a few pieces. I haven’t actually started it yet, I’m about to start but it will be a lot quicker this time because I’ve kept all the pieces and they’re all joined together into really big pieces. So, it’s just a matter of joining the big pieces.

“Whereas before the caravan took about five months and then the Kombi took about five months from the beginning it won’t be nearly as long and I should be able to knock it over in a month.”

So where can you find the Kombi and Caravan during JJJ?

“We’ll be there both weekend’s of the festival,” she said.

“The first weekend we’ll be in the gallery precinct behind the town hall on the Saturday. On the Sunday they have the grand auto display which is the big car show in the main street and we’ll be in that. We’ll also have a few other vehicles on display there. We’ve got a little shortened Kombi and a little shortened Beetle and a couple of other vehicles that will be on display just for that day.

“We’re Kombi fanatics we’ve had them for years, we’ve just got this crazy collection.”

So why Kombi’s – most people collect things like stamps?

“Yeah, it would take up a lot less space,” she mused.

“Lucky we’ve got five acres then.

“We just love Kombi’s and I love vintage caravans so the combination of the two is just great. People seem to really enjoy it.”

The second weekend of the festival, the Kombi and caravan will be on display at the Suitcase Rummage market in the park on the Saturday and then the next weekend they will be at the Potters market.

So where did the Kombi collecting start?

“Well actually probably about 18 years ago – I’ve been with my husband nearly 20 years now and when we first got together – well he’s really into cars – all sorts of cars,” she said.

“I like cars too but he’s a fanatic and I just mentioned one day in passing – you know I really like Kombi Vans. This is before the whole big crush with Kombis, before people started to collect them. They were worth nothing back then but I just always really liked them. The next thing I know I have three in my yard. He’d managed to source these Kombis from different people around town – none of them going. They were in various states of repair. We had three Kombis sitting in a row in our yard for quite some time. We ended up doing one up, which is the one we drive now and the one which we will be yarn bombed. But we have a few others on display in our place.”

The moral to the story is obviously never tell Louis you like something.

“Yeah, that’s very dangerous, because he usually finds it,” she laughed.

After the festival when the blankets come off Lisa has big new plans for her “Egg” van – to finally get stuck into the inside and create something just as creative and interesting in the interior.

It won’t be the first time they have unleashed their artistic talent.

Lisa and Louis – have their amazing eclectic artspace the Kompound Artzone.

The Kompound was inspired by a trip to Melbourne, where they saw amazing people creating incredible art.

“We came home driven to create a unique space to follow our artistic pursuits,” she said.

“So, with our heads full of crazy plans, we went to work for two and a half years, building our dream from the ground up, totally self-funded, and using recycled materials wherever possible.

“Thanks to some very generous locals who helped out with the things we couldn’t do on our own, in late 2017 The Kompound was born.

“The Kompound space itself is a visual feast of oddities, collectables and nostalgic eclectica. Centred around our beloved Kombi vans, each area features a different theme- vintage cameras, 1920’s Shanghai, a Snoopy collection, steampunk workshop, retro kitchen ware, Victorian era oddities, old motorcycles and vintage circus-to name just a few.”

Watch out for Lisa and Louis and their Kombis at this year’s Jazz and Jumpers in July.