Miranda van Rossum, Chair of #WeMadeThis Hull, writes:
What do ten schools, seven craft groups, six Rainbows, Brownies and Guide groups, four youth groups, three nurseries, three residential homes, two childminders, Hull College, the University of Hull, Trinity Market, Engage Bilton Grange, Experience Hair Salon, the Preston WI and hundreds of enthusiastic individuals of all ages have in common?
Answer: They’ve all been busy making Christmas decorations for the second edition of the #WeMadeThis Christmas trees, Christmas Trees Revisited.
From knitted stockings to felt penguins to craft foam and pompom baubles, thousands of ‘makes’ will be hitting the trees of Hull and the surrounding area on Saturday 8th December, where they’ll stay until the 29th.
In fact, one of the trees has already been up for a while – the Trinity Market Bauble tree was decorated on 24th November, to coincide with the Christmas market in the Old Town. The decorations for this tree were made by members of the group and over 40 visitors to the market during one of #WeMadeThis’ monthly Maker Days. Lucy Linen, manager of Trinity Market, couldn’t have been happier with the end result, witness this post to the group’s Facebook page:
As with all #WeMadeThis’ endeavours, inclusivity and participation were at the heart of the project. “I am delighted with the number and variety of people and groups who got involved,” says Miranda van Rossum, chair of # WeMadeThis. “I’ve said it so often it’s practically become my mantra, but anyone and everyone is welcome – if you’re happy to make us something, you’re in. No selection criteria or processes. And it’s great to see that people just get it.”
Certainly, many of the participants echo this sentiment. Having previously coordinated the recreation of the BHS Mural for #WeMadeThis’ Hull Spirit exhibition at Hull Minster last September, Southcoates Primary teacher Hayley Boba says of #WeMadeThis: “[It] has helped to combine communities with art and has provided a fantastic platform for our children to exhibit their artwork and show off their talents.” For the Christmas project, pupils have made bells, baubles, presents and holly leaves to decorate four small trees outside Alexandra Court Care Centre, with residents of the home also contributing.
Another #WeMadeThis enthusiast is Liz Rymer. Having first joined the Anlaby / Willerby group for the Easter Treats project in April this year, the group then went on to create the highly popular The Deep display for Hull Spirit. For Christmas Trees Revisited, they are busy making gingerbread themed decorations for a tree outside Crofters in Anlaby. About her involvement in #WeMadeThis, Liz says: “Everyone I speak to about [it] agrees it’s a fabulous initiative, bringing communities together and totally inclusive.”
Newcomer Andrea Leek has been making gingerbread men for the Anlaby tree with her children, and helped to get Eastfield Primary involved. She, too, is full of praise for the inclusive nature of #WeMadeThis: “what’s great about the project is that it’s been accessible for anyone and everyone, you don’t have to be a wonderful artist to take part, all abilities and talents have been included, and I think that’s the best thing about it.”
In addition to bringing communities together, #WeMadeThis has also helped forge individual friendships through uniting people for a common purpose, says founding member Jane Hawes of the Avenues, Pearson Park & Princes Avenue group: “It has brought people together in a common aim who would not normally have met. It has forged new friendships,” a sentiment also expressed by Patricia Ferguson of the Hedon & Holderness group, who says that “through decorating the trees we have become friends with some lovely people!”
Looking ahead to next year, the group have a further three projects planned: a floral-themed Spring project, another exhibition at Hull Minster in September and the third edition of the Christmas trees. They are also set to continue their monthly Maker Days. Funding for all these activities has been secured: “We’re really pleased that after the success of the Hull Spirit exhibition, and the Back To Ours commission “Maker Portraits” within that, Back To Ours have commissioned all of our projects for next year, including the Maker Days,” says Miranda. “We are really looking forward to continuing our collaboration, and especially to working more closely with their Community Hubs. For us, as for them, it’s all about actively engaging people in the arts.”
Tree Trail maps for Christmas Trees Revisited are available from 8th December at Artlink, Bransholme Library, East Park Pavilion Cafe, Gipsyville Library, Hull Tourist Information (Paragon Station), Octagon Cafe, Preston Community Hall, St Philip’s (Bilton Grange), Studio No. 1 (Anlaby), Trinity Market, Willerby Library. A digital version can be downloaded from wemadethishull.wordpress.com.
[Miranda van Rossum, We Made This Hull]