What does community mean to you? Do you have a creative tribe? Where in the world are you? I'm a Nottingham girl born and bred and I love the diversity of creativity that the city has to offer, from colourful illustrators and makers to wacky yarn shop owners (Eleanor, thats you!!) Nottingham's creative community is growing at a speedy rate and it excites me that I can be part of it.
" Be part of something bigger than yourself "
For so long I have plodded along in my own creative bubble, too introverted to get myself out there and mingle. However, since my launch back in August last year I feel I have stepped out of my bubble and built up exciting new relationships with some super talented folk. I now feel part of a tribe.
Last weekend Nottingham exploded! It's In Nottingham, Bulwell Arts Festival, as well as so many more hosted a range of events throughout Nottingham and I was lucky enough to attend a few of them. Here's my journey around my wonderfully creative city.
Nottingham Independents Festival hosted by It's In Nottingham
Saturday 8th July saw a jam packed day of family fun. My beautiful family and I hopped on the tram and headed for the city centre to visit many of the fabulous independent businesses in Nottingham and celebrate the Its In Nottingham Independents Festival with them.
Throughout the day there was free entertainment on stage at Trinity Square, Pelham Square, Middle Pavement and Carlton Street, as well as street parties held at Trinity Walk, Flying Horse Walk, St James’s Street and Cobden Chambers. Lots to see and do.
We began our adventure at Trinity Square, where Peppa and Daddy Pig made guest appearances, a not to be missed event for a certain three year old! We danced, listened to stories and giggled before strolling down the best dressed street in town, Trinity Walk.
We chatted to lots of folk, popped into Knit Nottingham (of course), sampled cake and juice at Ilas Little Tea Shoppe, hunted for prizes and so much more.
It was then time to go see the lions. The girls did their ritual stroke of the famous left lion before we headed for St James Street.
The street has changed somewhat over the years and now houses some of my favourite places. The Malt Cross is a must visit if you're after somewhere relaxed to eat and drink, its brilliant for families and with access to the shop next door, Handmade Nottingham, its a treat not to be missed.
Handmade Nottingham is a wonderful treasure trove of a shop. Owned and run by the equally wonderful Rhea Clements who has put her heart and sole into creating a beautiful shop that showcases the best selection of local designers and makers.
On the day I got to see my super talented buddy Jo Want from Hello Sunshine who was busy painting away these fabulous watercolour portraits. There wasn't much time to stop and catch up as this lady had people lining up to have their mugs painted.
Next up we popped into Dukki Gifts to say hi to Heidi. Its the first time I've been into the shop and met Heidi even though I have Insta stalked the shop since its opening back in 2014 and have many a products which have been gifted to me. I just love everything about this quirky little shop, great gifts, homewares and the best souvenirs in town... not to mention the best shop colour choice ever! (#TealLove)
" Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much " - Helen Keller
Often I nip off and do businessy, creative type stuff on my own, well, because its just easier. But I'm so glad I could share all of this with my three favourite people on Saturday. My girls are growing up so fast and both are taking an interest in what mummy's up to. Biggest little loves to draw and Smallest little is always in my yarn basket so being able to share the creative side of Nottingham with them is so exciting.
Bulwell Arts Festival Family Fun Day at The Bulwell Academy
Bulwell Arts Festival is in its fourth year and each year it just gets better and better. 8 days of family fun, music, poetry, art, crafts, workshops, its an event not to be missed. If this is the first time you're hearing about it, then head over to Facebook and check out the amazing list of events that have just taken place.
The Bulwell Academy host a Family Fun Day each year to kick off a week long creative programme of events. This years event was something to talk about! The space was filled with colour, energy and oodles of happy, excited faces. There was 'have-a-go' craft tables, craft stalls, food, dancing, a bouncy castle, Super Sparkle Party entertainers, you name it, they had it. But by far, for me (the big kid) the best bit was when Hunter the dinosaur rocked up! Boom!
We left Daddy (Mr Towriess) at home and the girls and I absorbed the carnival atmosphere, danced, played and mingled with so many fantastic families. We even helped out Granddad (my dad) on his art stall.
I'm so proud of this man. He has turned his passion to paint into a business. Using art as therapy Art by Phil Hearn creates a magnificent and diverse range of art, demonstrates techniques, teaches master classes, kids workshops and has more recently converted his garage and outbuilding into a home studio and gallery space. If you're free between 16th - 23rd July, Art by Phil Hearn will be hosting an open studio event showcasing a selection of Bulwell's Artistic finest. Do pop by and have a look, it's well worth a visit.
Earlier this year I was invited to work with Bulwell Arts Festival on a graphic design project. I worked closely with the organisation team and produced an exciting events brochure, posters, banners and social media artwork, all within the space of a couple of weeks. I have since been invited to join the team officially ready for next years event. The programme of events and number of collaborators increases massively each year and I am super excited about being involved, transforming the brand and creating an impactful range of marketing collateral that will well and truly put Bulwell and Bulwell Arts Festival on the map!
" When I came here, I was looking for a community.
Then I realised I was helping to create one. "
Bulwell Arts Festival Eco Art on the Garden hosted by Bulwell Forest Garden
As part of the Bulwell Arts Festival the Bulwell Forest Garden host a fantastic Eco Art on the Garden event which this year I got to be a part of. I have visited the garden for many family events over the yeas so when I was asked to run a creative workshop I jumped at the chance.
Bulwell Forest Garden is a community garden run by volunteers and includes food growing, wildlife areas, a community orchard and outdoor kitchen. Its a wonderful place to visit and is open to everyone. To find out more head over to their website.
This fabulous Eco Art event took place on Sunday 9th July and the weather was glorious. The best weather for a day spent outdoors being creative.
I rocked up with all my creative bits and bobs, which included yarns, ribbons, textured threads, recycled cardboard tubes, paper plates and whatever else I thought might make an interesting adornment for my dream catcher workshop.
Here I am at the beginning of the day with my well organised, neat and tidy corner.... it didn't stay that way for long!
Families piled in and made themselves comfortable under the gazebo for a relaxed 'make and take' creative session. There was something for everyone and people came and went as they pleased. Some stayed for hours and made more than one dream catcher and others had a go and then moved on to other areas of the garden for more eco friendly activities.
I was blown away by the array of work produced throughout the day and how each and every child (and parent) took time to consider colours and decoration. Some coloured in paper plates, some wrapped yarn around tubes, some even replicated Pokemon symbols by threading yarn through holes in paper plates.
I loved that my family and friends could join me, have ago and enjoy such a wonderful, free, local event. Without the community I have become a part of, most of which had come from play groups and childrens church activities like Messy Church (thanks girls), I may not have even known about this ever growing creative community right here on my doorstep, in Bulwell or be friends with such an amazing bunch of people.
" The best way to multiply your happiness is to share it with others. "
The community gardens are amazing but I hear so many people say that they didn't even know they existed. A little secret hideaway I'm so pleased to know about and share with you today.
Knowlegde is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything.
- Lance Armstrong
I'm so proud of my community and the tribe I'm now a part of. As a work from home business it's easy to feel isolated. To be a part of these wonderful events, be in the presence of such warmhearted, creative people, local families and fellow artists and makers makes me proud to be a Bulwellian, a Notts girl and I'm here to shout about this amazing community.
Did you pop along to any of these events, or take part in something similar elsewhere? I would love to hear from you and enhance my community further. You, yes you, reading this, you're part of my community. Its you that keeps me going and helps me be a better designer and teacher. It's you that I want to share all of this with. Thanks for taking the time to read this epic post, until the ext time, terrar for now me duck!
Hi, I'm April.
Crochet designer and tutor based in Nottingham.