WORK OF ART: Margaret Perkins’ winning tree is covered with countless hand-crocheted flowers.
WORK OF ART: Margaret Perkins’ winning tree is covered with countless hand-crocheted flowers.

Tree Jumper winner didn't even know she'd won

THIS year's Jumpers and Jazz Tree Jumper Open Artistic winner did not even know she'd claimed the coveted prize until she was told the next day.

"I actually left my ticket for the awards dinner at home," Margaret Perkins laughed.

It wasn't a matter of ducking home to pick up the ticket either.

The textiles artist hails from Melbourne and drove up north just for Jumpers and Jazz.

"Every year I like to do something interesting," she explained.

"I travelled to Winton to search for dinosaur bones once, and this time I thought I would come to Warwick.

"I felt like coming up here to dress up a tree for a change."

Mrs Perkins worked as an an agricultural officer and botanic illustrator for most of her life before becoming textile conservator at the Melbourne Museum.

"I also studied an Advanced Diploma in Art Studio Textiles at RMIT," she said.

"There I learnt experimental textiles and using geometric designs in crochet."

That wasn't the first time Mrs Perkins picked up a crochet hook.

"I would have started crochet and knitting when I was eight or nine years old," she said.

"My mother would teach me, but she was left handed so it was difficult.

"I'd sit across the table from her and she'd try and teach me.

"My grandmother was right handed so it was easier for her to help."

For her Jumpers and Jazz creation Mrs Perkins said her Trellis tree was a vine backdrop, handmade flowers and a few trade secrets added to the mix.

"The thin vines are filled with whipper snipper cord, and it's all held together with velcro and black safety pins," she said.

"I've sewn on leaves which were made on the knitting machine, and there's hand-crocheted flowers."

Mrs Perkins is already en route home to Melbourne, planning to stop off in Orange and Coffs Harbour to visit family on the trip down.

As for her winning tree, it will stay standing until the festival ends.

"I've given the art gallery two postage bags and they've been kind enough to offer to take it down and post it back to to my home," she said.

Mrs Perkins' Thornbury home is brimming with wool, yarn and all things crochet, she said.

"The cat had a great time."

You can find the Trellis tree on Palmerin St, outside Mussels restaurant.

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