Squink has left the building

My bestie Helen has been in charge of removing me tree jumpers on my behalf for all of the past few years. But this year I was able to be in town to take down Squink myself. Fun FAct: Installing a tree jumper may take two or three hours, but it takes about 20 minutes to uninstall.

The bestest thing about Jumpers and Jazz in July for 2018 was being tagged in photos of people with Squink. So, so, so cool. The tree jumper exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to get interactive - without damaging - the jumper. Please take note for next year patrons! I want to see all your photos!

Another first for me this year, I took Squink into my work to show my colleagues a 'live' tree jumper. They have seen and heard all about it from me for months. I'd like to think that their minds were suitably blown.

Here are few of the posts of punters with Squink and one very positive review that Someone shared with me.

Zombie Yarn: Crochet raised from the dead

Even though I get very very nervous presenting to a group of people, this workshop proved to be a tonne of fun. Karina from the Warwick Art Gallery asked if I would conduct a class as part of the Jumpers and Jazz in July event programme. I said yes straight away. As the days grew closer to D-Day, I was surprised at how low my panic meter was registering. The calm feeling remained in me even on the day of the class. 30 minutes to go the bubbles fizzed, but I still felt excellent and relaxed.

I'm fortunate to have eight of the loveliest women attend. There were even celebrities of sorts in the room. Warwick personality and prolific wearable art practitioner Helen Newton was the first to arrive. Helen has an exhibition of her wearable art in Jacqui's Cafe. Then Narelle Mercer, the back-to-back winner of the festival theme section, walked in. I experienced a significant fangirl moment and felt thrilled to meet the woman responsible for two of my all-time favourite tree jumpers.

We had a great time, and everything went fabulously well. Perhaps the focus of the class was not solely all about crochet this time. I had chosen to work through the methods that I had used to produce my work. The crochet project was a small, fun activity that introduced the possibilities of making different items from t-shirt yarn. Every attendee completed a piece; most started on a second. I call that a result!

Running workshops is something that I would really like to be involved in with greater regularity. My nerves are the only thing holding me back. This positive experience has given me the courage and zest to look to work on something in the future.

Thank you, ladies.

Squink and all that Jazz

The concept for my tree jumper in 2018 was primarily an excuse to make tentacles. An octopus was the obvious choice, so I went with a squid. The body shape suited the jumper shape, and you know what? I think that a squid has a bit more personality about it. Making the tentacles was a lot of fun...for the first two or three limbs. Perseverance paid off though. I am super happy with how they finished up looking. The most fun part of the project was the ink element. It is crochet garbage bags adorned with shiny black sequins. I have found myself a deep love sewing sequins on to crochet. There's something meditative about the process. I have probably said that on here before, but it bears repeating. While Squinky didn't place in the awards list, I have received beautiful words of praise and admiration for the little fellow.

Thank you Jumpers and Jazz for providing this fantastic space to display my craft on such a grand scale. I have such fondness for my tree which lives outside the NAB bank on Palmerin Street (opposite the Criterion Hotel). The plans have already commenced for my 2019 tree jumper. I kid you not. Stay tuned

The Jumpers and Jazz in July festival in 2018 has been splendid. I enjoyed my four days absorbing the atmosphere and buzz that exudes through the streets of Warwick. I was involved in many exciting activities which included a nice big ol' chunk of media duties. My mentor, the expert bistitchual (knit and crochet) herself Helen Gross and I have been involved with the festival from its inception in 2014. 2018 is the 15th anniversary year. We were up super early for a photo shoot with our jumpers one chilly morning. I also spoke with David Iliffe at the ABC Breakfast live broadcast from the Warwick Town Hall about my Jumperhead exhibition and tree jumpering.

The quality of tree jumpers in the open air exhibition is mind-blowingly good. I had a bunch of favourites this year. Here are just a few of my highlights:

Jumperhead Unleashed

I was incredibly nervous about the time when it came when people outside of my immediate circle get to see the pieces I have been working on for the past few months. The time came on Thursday 12th July. It was installation day. 'Jumperhead' is my second solo exhibition. This time around I was a little more organised and focussed on what I wanted to do. 'Monsters Under the Bed' in 2013 saw me with absolutely no clue as to what I was doing. I am slightly more aware of myself, my work and my artistic expression. Now that Jumperhead is open and people are seeing and reacting to it, I feel sheer relief. I can also see what a weird little world there is tucked away in my head. When I learnt to crochet, I didn't expect that I had found my calling. That it would be my creative voice. That this voice would be quirky, weird and whimsical. Perhaps I hadn't really appreciated that these are words that describe me. I wear it as a badge of honour. Weird is cool, right? While I was waiting to commence my Zombie Yarn workshop at the Warwick Art Gallery, I was among the throngs of people attending Markets at the Gallery. The joint was jumping! The vibe was buzzing, and the sun was shining. I was stationed in behind the counter of the gallery volunteer's stall. I had an excellent view of the spectacle. There was a moment where I looked through the gallery windows to see the room completely full of patrons. There were a couple of groups of people taking photos with the pieces, and there was no room to move through the exhibit. I'd be lying if I said that I was not puffed with pride or that tears of joy were welling in my eyes. It was quite a particular moment which I will think fondly on.

Jumperhead is coming

In 2017 I was named the Inaugural entrant into the Jumpers and Jazz Hall of Fame. For the 2018 festival, I have been invited to exhibit a brand spanking new installation in the Warwick Art Gallery. A recent feature in the Warwick Daily News revealed the details.

The exhibition features new pieces created from yarn which I have repurposed from garments I have sourced from op shops and my own closet.

The process has been exhausting and rewarding in equal parts. I'm excited to install each of the pieces and to see how they interact with each other. Some old friends will also make an appearance. I have selected pieces from a collection of my entries into the World of Wearableart.

I will also be hosting a workshop at the gallery on July 21. Zombie Yarn: Raised from the Dead will demonstrate some of the techniques that I have used in creating Junperhead.

Visit the Orange Wall Gallery July 12 - August 11 in the Warwick Art Gallery to see how these old clothes were Jumperheaded.

Jumpers and Jazz 2017 – AOK exhibition

Jumpers and Jazz 2016 saw some of my World of Wearableart entries on display in the front store window of AOK Clothing. AOK owner Anna said that there was a really positive response to the display. It was with really short notice that Anna asked if she could again display some of my work. I wasn’t too sure what to use. In a hurry, I threw a few of my tree jumper entries into a big plastic tub. Once I completed my tree jumper installation I dropped off the tub to AOK. I wasn’t able to help Anna set it up due to prior commitments.  That was a really good thing. An hour or so later I received a MMS image of what she had set up in the window. OMG. My jaw dropped. I could not believe how incredible it looked. Even though I had made the jumpers, I did not recognise them at all. I should’ve known that they would make fabulous wearableart shouldn’t I? They really did!

In the tub, I also threw in my 2 carnivorous pot plants that were included in a display at the Warwick Town Hall in last year’s festival and some random creepy monster potted plants. For something that didn’t have any direction or concept, it looked a treat. Anna reported that the feedback from visitors was again very positive. I’ll have to start thinking about what to do for 2018 – if she’ll have me back of course!

Jumpers and Jazz 2017

The Jumpers and Jazz festival has been another fantastic one for me. This year tree jumper installation day kicked off very, very early. In fact morning television early. The Today  Show arranged for live weather crosses with weather correspondent Natalia Cooper in chilly downtown Warwick. My bestie Helen and I were among the brave group of folks to arrive ‘on set’ before 6 am. It was a beautiful time to be up and it also allowed us to get a car park right next to our respective trees. Most convenient. We gathered around behind thebrightly coloured crochet tree jumper action of the first cross. Once the cut was called it was time to commence Operation Installation. My tree was known as “Tree 64” this year. There is a building in place of the vacant site now. I think in all It took me 3 or so hours to stitch my tree jumper “Sherbert” onto my tree. I really enjoy how that process unfolds. I have an idea in my head when I start as to how it might look. Then it changes to how I  imagine it might look as I see it flat on the floor in my home. As it starts to be stitched on those images changed quite dramatically for me this year. It ended up looking very different to and happily even better than I thought it would.

entry tag details Sherbert by Jessica Thompson

The festival introduced a new section to the competition in 2017: the Hall ofFame Award. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony this year. Tara and Fast Eddie from Better Homes and Gardens were on hand to make the announcements. I am bloody proud to say that I was named as the inaugural inductee into the Jumpers and Jazz Hall of Fame!! The Warwick Daily News wrote an article about me Bright star in hall of fame. And there’s also a very quick glimpse of Sherbert in the trailer for the episode that Better Homes and Gardens crew filmed over 3 days. I wish the full episode was still available, but it appears to have expired from the Plus7 site. The show really showed how beautiful, fun, and exciting the Jumpers and Jazz in July festival is. I felt very proud to be a part of such wonder.

tree jumper at night with lights on close up of tree jumper at night with lights on

I included a light element to my tree jumper again this year. I stayed in town on installation day night so I was able to head down the street to see the lights in effect. It was pretty darn cool, if not quite difficult to capture.

 

Jumpers and Jazz 2016 – WoW at AOK

This year for Jumpers and Jazz in July I was asked if I would exhibit my World of Wearableart entries in a shop window on the main street of Warwick for the duration of the festival. Of course I said yes! On tree jumper installation day (the hottest in the history of the festival) I also helped Anna and Fay Cox from womens fashion store AOK Clothing with setting up the WoW display.

The feedback I received from Anna was really positive. Anna said that she ‘wished I could see the look of joy on people’s faces.’

Anna also related to me a story. One of her assistant’s was looking at the tree jumpers along Palmer Street. While stopping to look at one of the entries someone said to her “if you think this is good, you should see the display at AOK!”

Sounds like overall the exhibition was well received. It was certainly a delight to see my work all together for the first time. It was like getting the family together for the first time in a long time.

 

Jumpers and Jazz 2016 – Geometree

I heart Jumpers and Jazz in July

Jumpers and Jazz is a winter festival held in Warwick, Queensland the last two weeks of July. I have been involved with the festival’s outdoor tree jumper exhibition since its inception. My tree is located outside the National Australia Bank on Palmerin Street. Jumpers and Jazz is one of my two major projects for the year. Once my WoW entry is finished it is time to get started on my tree jumper.

This year I decided to ‘use up’ left over squares of MDF from one of my WoW entries. Have been hoarding the 2 huge plastic bags that my queen sized mattress came in to utilise somehow either in storage or artistically. I thought it would prove to be a faster option to finish my tree jumper if I were to use a big, fat hook and strips of plastic. It did not prove to be the case – at all! I finished the jumper just days before installation. I snapped an 11.5mm plastic hook and had to locate a third mattress bag to complete the project. In the end I can honestly say that when I was finished the installation it is the first tree jumper I have made that I quite liked, and felt a tingle of pride as I walked away from it. It pretty much destroyed my right shoulder. It was worth every discomfort when I received word that ‘Geometree’ had been named as the winning entry in the Excellence in Knitting and Crochet section. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging when I say that, this made me a back to back champion! Yeah. That does sound like bragging. But it is also a bloody good result and I am sooo proud of my achievements. This makes my fourth section win. Perhaps I’ll be made the inaugural of the Hall of Honour member next year and thus ineligible for entry? Regardless, I will enter and love Jumpers and Jazz, always.

The Warwick Daily News wrote a really nice article about me and my dabbling with World of Wearableart.