I recently visited a friend who has been living in Bristol for the past eighteen months. This was my first visit and the choice of weekend came down to the cheapest train tickets available, so it was by chance that the 10th North Bristol Arts Trail was on that weekend.
Interested in all things art related this was a priority for the weekend. The trail consisted of 47 stops and although they were all in the same area, we opted to visit smaller clusters within the trail. Our first port of call was Fig run by six women who joined forces in 2010 to sell their own contemporary art and crafts.
Artemis, also a contemporary craft gallery, was the second stop a few doors up. Housing an array of ceramics, jewellery, glassware and textiles it was hard not to buy anything especially with Christmas just around the corner. Next door was an empty shop which had been papered with various thoughts and quotes by the artist, Pat Jamieson.
The black and white quotes stood out bold and strong against the orange paintwork. The artist herself was kind enough to give us some the artwork she had prepared for her exhibition but hadn’t used. At this point we were unaware that artwork would not be only thing we would be given that day.
Our trail continued to Horfield Baptist church, exhibiting work from five artists, an arts and crafts area for children and tea and cake. Although tempted to stop we pressed on and in doing so were offered a free slice of pizza by a girl from the Italian restaurant next door.
The next part of the trail took us into artists’ houses, where front rooms had been transformed into exhibition spaces, this was fascinating to see. The ability to just walk into strangers’ homes without knocking and be greeted by their fluffy cats, open fires and warm spiced apple juice was by far the most interesting part of the trail, not forgetting the artwork of course! The work on display ranged from prints and paintings to jewellery, ceramics and textiles – all unique in their homely settings.
Some work you could buy with some offering the facility to pay by card – these people were clearly not new to this set up! Three hours into the trail we had only managed about a fifth – it soon became clear that the whole weekend was required and most importantly an early start!!
We decided to work our way back to car as we had afternoon tea booked at Lahloo Tea in Clifton Village, a short car ride. Our journey back to the car was not disappointing though. A stonemason’s workshop housed a further exhibition mainly photography and of course stone carvings. Along the way to our final stop we passed a number of local food shops including a fishmongers who were selling the strangest item of ‘food to go’ you could ever buy on a street – Oysters! £1.20 bought you one oyster which you gulped down on the spot before heading on your way!
Our last stop took us round the back of a house to man’s shed that he had recently cleared out. The objects that he had left were bizarre to say the least and really gave you a feel for this man’s personality and hobbies. A little table was home to a selection of items that were free to a good home. I came away with some candles and my friend, a small notebook.
We then headed on our way to reflect on the last few hours over rosebud and smoky tea alongside our delicious and extremely filling afternoon tea goodies.
Author: Rebecca Fitton
You can find out more about the North Bristol Art Trail here. Have you ever visited the North Bristol Art Trail? If you know of anything similar that is more local, then please comment below.