The tree outside the Warwick Art Gallery has been dressed early, as part of International Yarn Bombing day on Saturday.
The tree outside the Warwick Art Gallery has been dressed early, as part of International Yarn Bombing day on Saturday. Emma Channon

Ready to jump and jazz up festival

FEVERISHLY crocheting away from her Brisbane home, Jess Thompson is this week devoting her time to her Jumpers and Jazz Festival masterpiece.

“It’s probably not as far along as it should be. That’s why I’m taking this week off from work,” she laughed.

“I did start work about three months ago but pulled it all out because I didn’t like it.”

With just over a month until Warwick’s trees are jazzed up, Ms Thompson, along with about 160 other artists, is hard at work to make deadline.

The former Warwick resident said she had been making tree jumpers for the Jumpers and Jazz Festival since its inception in 2004.

“My friend Helen (Gross) and I are textile artists, so when the exhibition came about we thought we could contribute,” she said.

“The first jumper we made was called the ‘ant’s picnic’ and the second one was an aquarium.”

Those first two jumpers have been purchased by a fellow local artist.

The rest have been stored carefully by Warwick Art Gallery director Karina Devine.

Ms Thompson said each jumper was the result of months of planning and work.

“We sit down and work out a theme first and then we figure out how we can make it look like that theme,” she said.

“After we draw it out, we go and begin making it.

"Probably what takes the longest is the base for the jumper – we have to make that and embellish it.”

Ms Thompson looks after the crocheting pieces, while Ms Gross handles the knitting side.

The pair has been collaborating for the same tree each year, which saves them from re-measuring each festival.

This year though, Ms Thompson has been assigned a palm tree to dress and the pair is carrying out separate projects.

With seven jumpers underneath her belt already, Ms Thompson said it was hard to pin down where the inspiration for each year originated.

“I have no idea where the ideas came from,” she said.

“There wasn’t any theme in the early days, but we haven’t followed the theme every year, just gone with what’s in our heads.”

One of Ms Thompson’s creations – her cactus jumper she made last year – was used over the weekend as a promotional piece.

Art gallery director Karina Devine took the jumper down to Brisbane for the Textile Art Festival at the Brisbane Exhibition Centre.

 

Jumpers and Jazz

  • Thursday, July 21 until Sunday, July 31
  • 160 trees will be dressed up
  • This year’s theme: Starry Night
  • More information at www.jumpersandjazz.com


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