Christmas Tree at Bishopston Library

Bishopston Library is celebrating their first Christmas in their new location in the old renovated swimming pool on Gloucester Road, with an amazing real Christmas tree.

It is adorned with fantastic decorations made by local children.

Back in October 2017 the installation of the Parcels of Comfort exhibition in the library was the starting point for the planning of the Christmas tree. It was then that  Tracey Wintle, head of the library, mentioned there were no plans as yet for a Christmas display and no funding to help. It was at that moment Jane-Marie Mahy, who was working alongside Paula New and Sally Stanley, curating the exhibition, decided that the dream of a real Christmas tree was going to come true one way or another. 

The girls are all members of the knit and stitch club (Knitnatterstitch) that meet in Henleaze at The Coffee Bar Trinity Henleaze URC Church, once a weekly during term.

The following week, Jane-Marie and Paula, joint leaders of the group, mentioned the dilemma to their members. A club member, Christeen Davis, came back to them a couple of weeks later informing them that her Son, Andy Davis Manager of Kellaway Building Supplies, Bedminster, was going to give a donation towards the project…fantastic, the dream was becoming a reality!

During  November, Paula and Jane-Marie made contact with the owner of Henleaze Garden Shop. Robert and Matt kindly offered to supply the tree, lights and base within the amount of donation given by Kellaway Building Supplies. The project was then on a roll…..

In prep for the day, approx 40 felt Christmas birds, houses, trees, reindeer and Christmas puddings were pre cut in anticipation for the day ahead. 

On Saturday 2 December, a free children’s workshop, stitching the felt decorations for the tree, was set up in the library by Jane-Marie, Paula and Ilaria Padovani, who also call their collaboration Knitnatterstitch

The workshop was attended by approx 36 children with their families. There was even an amazing ‘born again teenager’ as she called herself, Val who really enjoyed her time alongside the younger attendees stitching, the reindeer definitely being the favourite choice of design by the children. 

It was a busy day with lots of happy faces, the excitement was at its most when the children ran to the tree after finishing their stitching to put their decoration on it themselves, which they had labeled with their name. There were also decorations that the Knitnatterstitch club had made during their Christmas activity day in November on the tree along with packages below. It is planned that on 23 December, the children can return to the library to retrieve their work of art and then put it on their own trees at home.

Everyone who attended were very complimentary about both the library hosting such an event and how enjoyable they had found to be part of it. Knitnatterstitch had a fantastic day and look forward to planning and returning soon for another workshop soon.

Paula, Ilaria and Jane-Marie are all textile artists. Between them they have backgrounds in teaching, law and visual merchandising so their experience is vast. Their collective Knitnatterstitch aim to inspire creativity in others, they offer creative parties for both children and adults. 

Each party is custom made and pitched in a way to ensure every person within the group can enjoy the experience and leave with a finished item.

The Artists also attend various markets to sell their unique handmade gifts, they are part of the regular market Bristol Browsers, which is starting afresh on January 27 2018 at St Michaels Church on Gloucester Road. They also work together to run the knit and stitch group in Henleaze. If you would like more details please make contact the girls on their Facebook page @knitnatterstitch or e-mail them at knitnatterstitch@gmail.com.

The girls at Knitnatterstitch would like to thank all those involved in making the Christmas dream come true….especially Andy, Robert and Matt. A happy Christmas to all!

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