This weekend saw the fantastic Totterdown Front Room return for its 10th year. Happy birthday everyone!
The annual events sees artists, artisans and musicians all over The Hill open their doors to complete strangers, who drop in to check out their work and snag some homemade cake or mulled cider too. Or both in my case!
I saw so many amazing works this weekend. Of course, some of the stuff wasn’t to my taste. But that’s sort of the point. There really is something for everyone, from conceptual light installations to pottery, to teenage graffiti, and everything in between.
My favourite event this year was the painting of the Top Lodge in Arnos Vale cemetery, a place very dear to my heart.
Arnos Vale is a run down Victorian cemetery that was bought by the council a good few years ago, and won a heap of Lottery cash for restoration thanks to the hard work of some amazing volunteers.
Lots of the cemetery has had work already, but the Top Lodge has been bricked up and neglected for nigh on a decade.
No more! It now has an amazing angelic mural (spot the elements of the cemetery lurking within) by local artist Inkie on one side, and a patchwork collection of angel-shadow shapes on another, created by art students at Filton College under the watchful eye of their tutor, who told me it was partly inspired by his grandmother’s love of quilting. I think it is amazing, and also an absolute testament to the open mindedness of the Arnos Vale Trust, who could easily have shyed away from such a modern, urban project.
Other highlights of the weekend included enjoying a cup of very strong cider from the Community Apple Press, seeing more photos by Dan Carey, who I bought a great picture from last year and who is doing really well (go Dan!) and popping in to see my pals Helen and Tim, and their lovely daughter who, aged all of 13 months, had her own work on display.
I came away from my two hour march around Totterdown (my poor legs!) with a tea towel from Helen’s new Entomology range, a limed oak star Christmas decoration (which is now a necklace, made with the ribbon Helen’s tea towel was tied in) and a card of Buddhist bells for my dad, which I will frame as a Christmas present (the cider was free with the card – result!).
But aside from the physical stuff, I also came away inspired, as ever, by the bravery and talent of all the people who put their hard work on display and opened up their homes.
Front Room was the first art trail in Bristol. Every year I think about doing it, and every year I chicken out. But all being well, 2011 will finally see me take the plunge as I hope to run knitting workshops over the weekend if I can find a bigger venue than my weeny kitchen.
In the meantime, and as always, well done everyone!