Our local young artists have been busy again this summer creating delightful messages and momentos at the Cumberland Piazza. Funded by Hotels & Cliftonwood Community Association 2021 summer arts activities were once again led by Mhairi Stuart, who designed clay ornaments for people to make and ‘hide’ amongst the plants. She also showed us how to decorate and plant old fruit juice cartons.
Anna encouraged participants to add to The Sun Will Rise and So Will We protest posters begun at the Come Rain Come Shine festival in July. We have a bit more care and repair to give to these characters and we welcome all members of the community to share their ideas and opinions with us- although we do paint over offensive language and racist and misogynist phrases that sometimes sadly appear in our local public spaces.
The Sun Will Rise and So Will We is a project led by Grace Kress and Anna Haydock-Wilson that has grown from conversations about equality and how communities can amplify their voices in shared public spaces. The idea is that we can all have a say in how our cities and society can progress to benefit everyone. You can find out a little more about the project here
Making a Flower Bed
We had this idea that it would be good to create a flower bed from a dysfunctional bed, knowing that it’s really difficult to recycle old mattresses due to safety and hygiene. Some online research demonstrated lots of examples of vertical planters made from the springs, but the only use for the stuffing seemed to be refugees growing food in camps in arid countries. While adapting their ideas, in our space with no immediate tap water but in a country and city of abundant wealth, we reflected on the level of privilege we take for granted as well as on those in the UK who live in poverty and in unsanitary conditions.
This is something you can make at home!
You will need:
An unusable bed frame– if you have an old bed that you don’t want any more, please consider donating it to someone who can’t afford to buy one, either through Freecycle, Gumtree or through charities like Emmaus and Sofa.
Some heavy duty wire cutters, a screw driver, some screws, etc.
Cut the mattress cover away and dispose of it. Create space in and around the springs by moving the stuffing around. Secure the frame via any available means- wood batons, brackets, etc. Remember it only had to hold plants, not people. In this case we were using parts of an old bed and an old cot that had collapsed after several small children had used them. Line the bottom with plastic sheeting. Punch hols for drainage. Put the mattress on top, add soil and plants, then add some grit or pea gravel. Water well to start with. Remember that th idea with the mattress stuffing is that it will hold water so once the plants are established the idea is they may not need watering at all!
Mhairi Stuart is running workshops again this year for the well-being of local families. She will be making clay pendants with all comers on 7th & 8th August 2-4pm. The activities are FREE and there’s no need to book. On day one we will cut clay and let it dry over night. On day two people can paint and hang their ornaments adding positive messages if they like. We will have some pre made in case people can’t make both sessions.
On 18th & 19th August Anna will be joining Mhairi and we’ll add gardening activities in the mix. Weather permitting (if it’s not too hot and dry) we will be planting a mattress to make a ‘flower bed’. If this experiment is successful we’ll try and grow food next year as they are using mattresses in arid countries for this purpose. You may have noticed in the photos above that we have sneaked in some planted juice cartons- we’ll be experimenting with other things we can plant, including our newly acquired pink XR canoes. We’ll also be inviting more ‘colouring in’ of our protesters that we pasted up during the festival.
Please come and join in with creating murals, sculpture, planters, try some exercise classes, watch a vintage clothes fashion parade (all clothes are for sale), make some kefir, do pottery, Life Drawing and poetry workshops, or just meet up with friends and neighbours for curry, cakes and chats.
The event will be Covid safe (within current restrictions https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus) and suitable for all ages, with games, skate demos and music all day. Please bring drinking water, cash and a mask (it could be useful for some of the activities).
Here’s the Line up:
Chai Shai food 1-3.30pm & 5.30-8pm
Goki Cakes 2pm- til they’re all sold
Move More Fitness 1.30-5.30pm with breaks
Life Drawing 1-3pm
Flower Bed Gardening 1-4pm
Poetry workshops 2-4pm
Pottery workshops 3-5pm
Vintage Fashion Parade 3.30pm
Poetry Performance 4.30pm
A big thanks to all the amazing people who are contributing their skills and equipment to make it happen:
Move More Fitness run outdoor small group fitness sessions throughout the week, all year round, here at Cumberland Piazza in Hotwells.
Sessions are fun, for all abilities, and will definitely help you to feel great in body and mind.
They also help with nutrition advice, accountability and lifestyle tips.
At the festival Chris from Move More Fitness will be offering FREE 30 min taster sessions at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm, so make sure you head to see him to get your name down.
Or feel free to pop over to have a quick chat, if you have any burning questions on health, fitness and nutrition, Chris will be sure to help.
A & K’s Playground creative and imaginative workshops & events encouraging everyone to embrace play, no matter your age!
All activities are designed for children (aged 4+) and their grown ups to enjoy together.
1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm. Armed with a piece of chalk, Alison & KT challenge you and others to take hopscotch to the extreme! Will you skip or stomp? Float or fly? Ramble or roam?
1:00pm – 7:30pm, Stacking blocks into a tower with a twist! You and your opponent will take it in turns, removing one block at a time to see how high you can build. Ask Alison or KT for bonus wellbeing challenges.
PYTCH, a Bristol based international events and visionary company, are providing power, sound and support to add a bit of class! The sound system and DJ’s will be playing most of the day by the Skate Spot. Johnny Palmer, Managing Director, is keen to help us create more human habitat where people (especially young ones) can interact and maximise the community use of public urban space.
Covid news! So sad to say that Sally will be isolating and unable to provide free massage tasters. We will try and arrange for members of the community to meet Sally on another occassion.
Massage therapy works deep in the muscles, realigning the muscle fibres and connective tissue helping to increase blood flow, which in turn facilitates the body’s natural healing process. Treatment offers a profound level of relaxation, both physical and mental. For more information please take a look at my website.
Bob Walton is running Acer Rubrum a drop in poetry workshop in the Maple Grove 2-4pm with a performance at 4.30pm
Shilpi Choudhury will be painting with henna and we’re talking to some street artists about decorating the skate spot area with local young people.
Performance maker, Recession Gill, will be providing laughter and vintage clothes in the form of a fashion parade reflecting Hotwells and its past, present and future.
The Sun Will Rise & So Will We
Make some new permanent artworks for the Piazza with Anna Haydock-Wilson, Amy Hutchings & Lauren Maria Hill, using posters designed by Shelby X Studios. We will be using natural wheat paste to add a series of characters holding placards and banners and inviting you to help place them on the pillars and walls and to add your own words and phrases. This is part of the Hotwells Voices series which aims to enable local people and communities to express what they feel about the world. This activity is supervised and not suitable for children under 8 years old as Posca paint pens leave permanent marks.
Make a Giant Mosaic
Using brightly coloured pieces of wood, artists will help you to create a giant mosaic throughout the day on the old cafe base in the pocket park. There is no right or wrong with this activity and the pictures and patterns may change throughout the festival. When the day is done we will glue the mosaic together and the art will remain on display for a few weeks, so you can feel proud as you pass by. Artist Tim Southall will facilitate this piece.
Acer Rubrum PoetryWorkshop
Hotwells Poet, Bob Walton is bringing his superb wordsmithery to the festival inviting us all to write poetry and hang our offerings among the maple trees. Bob and his fellow poets will turn your words into performance.
Vintage Fashion Parade
Is it a fashion show? Is it street theatre? Is it pantomime? Whatever it is, if you don’t already know Recession Gill and her fabulous models, prepare to be entertained. Learn a little of the history of Hotwells through clothes and culture. There will be shopping & laughter!
Brick Project Mandala Workshop
The mandala is a cross cultural pattern, where creation and subsequent contemplation allows for a calming, meditative experience. Creating a group mandala is a unifying event in which people can express themselves individually within a cooperative structure. This project uses the same principles as all previous Brick Projects, allowing participants to use the medium of painting to represent themselves in a giant communal piece of art. There is no such thing as a bad painting – we encourage people to be brave and we are enthusiastic, approachable and ready to assist in developing techniques and offer support. Creativity is celebrated over virtuosity!
As I write we are approaching the end of the wettest May I can remember, never mind what the official stats say, and summer feels like a distant, half remembered pleasure. But there are signs of summer emerging. Beneath rain soaked leaves strawberries are forming and soon the calendula will raise their yellow faces to the sun. The sedum are about to burst into colour and the irises are blooming blousily.
Add in the explosion of wild flowers around the city and we should feel our spirit rising like the relieved bees who need these lines of pollinators to survive.
With the warmer weather we can make some plans to gather at the piazza. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to do some gardening as I’m thinking about setting up a little ‘gardening club’. Or please join us on June 7th 4-6pm
On July 18th 1-8pm Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association are planning a community festival. Our working title is Hotwells Well-Being Festival and so far we have confirmed some really exciting play, art and gardening activities for people of all ages. This date is subject to covid restrictions and council permission and if it is not safe or permitted we will postpone to September.
Supported by Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association, we are planning a day-long festival to celebrate our community and offer local people a chance to come together. We want people to enjoy being sociable in a safe and fun environment after a difficult and distanced pandemic year.
Activities will include fun taster sessions by popular local fitness guru Chris from Move More Fitness, play sessions by expert play facilitators from A & K’s Playground, community arts activities with resident artists Anna Haydock-Wilson, Amy Hutchings and Mhari Stuart, poetry, music, gardening and a skate spot launch in partnership with an amazing Bristol based events and media company, PYTCH.
How can you get involved? We welcome people who want to deliver well-being activities in the broadest sense to offer taster activities to festival go-ers. We’re also looking for volunteers to help with stewarding, first aid and children. Please contact email@example.com of you’re interested.
With so much hope pinned on 2021 being a better year than the covid catastrophe of 2020, life in our local communities is ever more important. We made a new mural to help people express their hopes. We have begun with colours and words around Amy’s beautiful herons. The lettering is by graphic artists, Julia and Rosie, and swirls and colours by Mhari and Anna.
The idea is to add positive statements and ideas of what we’d like to change in the world and in our city in the coming year. We’ll do this by drawing characters holding placards like with the ‘Sun will Rise and So Will We’ created by myself, Lauren and Katya using designs by Shelby X Studios. This artwork is the second in the Hotwells Voices series.
On the old cafe base next to this wall I will rebuild Unlocking Bristol and chalk the 300 plus messages I have already from residents all over Bristol. These artworks are temporary and vandal proof & created by volunteers although we have applied for funding for some additional painting and planting.
At the end of 2020 the Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association carried out an extensive community survey, which included some questions about people’s aspirations for the piazza. Thanks so much for all your responses which were overwhelmingly positive and aligned well with the previous survey in 2014. The priorities back then were for more green areas, facilities for young people and artworks. This time artwork was lower down the list and extra seating was higher up along with community events and ideas for a regular market.
We recognise concerns when it comes to untidiness and nostalgia and love of Dame Sylvia Crowe’s original public space design with the play park and the paddling pool and pristine concrete. The cost of returning the Piazza to its former glory is beyond the capacity of H&CCA. With the possibility of ‘Western Harbour’ developments, the whole area could change over the coming years- another great reason to communicate, share and amplify our voices.
People seem to appreciate the attempts we have made over the years to minimise unpopular graffiti and repaint when people deface the pillars and walls. We are aware that tagging really upsets many people, so I thought it would be useful to explain how we currently manage this. If the graffiti is obscene you can call the council and the Bristol Waste Street Cleansing team will paint over it as soon as possible. If you also contact me or the community association we have many more colours and can restore the original artworks. Otherwise, I tend to keep an eye out and make time to paint over what I think people consider to be ugly when time allows and on a voluntary basis.
I have compiled a list of FAQs responding more thoroughly to the H&CCA survey. I hope they help explain who takes responsibility for maintaining & improving the piazza and outline how you can get involved.
We really, really hope 2021 is a better year for everyone.
Sadly we have had to postpone planned community gardening days at the piazza due to the government announcement of national lockdown, but the planters at the piazza don’t know that and they still need some TLC. Mindful of the isolation lockdown can bring, we are happy to facilitate some covid-safe community gardening.
The Piazza was used as an example of good practice in a recent talk at the Centre of Gravity exhibition at the old Gardiner Haskins building that ended yesterday. Alternative Approaches to Architecture- working with students & communities was organised by local residents Rachel Sara, Professor of Architecture at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design and Anna Haydock-Wilson with guest speaker Thomas Sale, currently furloughed from his job as Project Manager for Don Eain, a participatory design practice in Myanmar. It was presented by Bristol Artist-Led Forum, a growing network of artists working with communities for social change, environmental improvement and increase in well-being.
Here are the presentations and documentation from the event.
As the school summer holidays draw to a close and the rainfall & XR focus our attention on climate change, let’s celebrate our local young people. This summer, led by local artist and teaching assistant, Mhairi Stuart, nearly 30 kids have adorned the piazza with their pavement art.
These activities offered local children the chance to focus on some detailed drawing but also an opportunity for lots of running around and freer expression.
We have photographed all the artwork and over the next couple of months Anna & Mhairi will carefully paint some of the images to form a winding trail through the piazza. The concrete blocks have long been in need of decorating so we’ll be using some of the design ideas the children have created for those too.
We recognise that children have had a tough time recently, so we’re offering some mindful art for local families. Led by Mhairi Stuart with Anna Haydock-Wilson and Amy Hutchings, pavement pastel and chalking will be on the following dates:
August 18, 19 & 20th 11am-12pm
Please bring an old cushion or towel for the children to kneel on and dress code is scruffy! We are fully insured and trained to work with children but we can’t take responsibility for infection spreading so please attend with your children. Bring a cuppa and relax or help with some gardening!
We will selct our favorite artworks and paint them in to create a permanant trail with some signage
The Hotwells Piazza is opposite the Rose of Denmark pub BS8 4QL and is an open public space.
We would love some help on the Piazza with weeding and watering, particularly through the summer months
On our notice board opposite the Rose of Denmark pub we have put up guidelines on how you can help. Here they are in this blog post
There are a few weeds that are particularly invasive and you can pull these up wherever you see them. Other self-seeding or wild-flower plants are great to leave as they attract bees and butterflies. If in doubt it’s best to leave them.
Over the years we have been learning which plants cope best in our urban climate and we very rarely need to water out planters, rockeries, sedum beds or rain beds, but during prolonged hot, dry spells we use the rainwater butts and occasionally put a local call out for people to bring water to the piazza
This map, by Zoe Smith, shows the garden areas that the local community, supported by Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association have created since 2014. The other areas are cared for by Bristol City Council.
If you would like to help with gardening, watering and litter picking we ask you to be responsible for your health in terms of protecting against the corona virus or skin allergies by wearing gloves or using hand sanitiser. Once you have pulled up weeds, please put them in our garden waste bins here. Water is available for plants from the rain butts. This is not safe for hand washing or for dogs to drink.
Here are some of the plants we have added over the years.
Many of our plants have been bought from the Riverside Garden Centre, supporting this wonderful local business. Others have been donated and scattered by locals or have self-seeded.
If you would like to plant something you are welcome. You can use an empty area of one of the planters or put something in the beds or rockeries we have created. Please be mindful that there are bulbs in the planters that need space to grow in the spring.
The Piazza is a big space and, although the planters are largely self maintaining, there is a bit of weeding, digging and watering that we’d love your help with. Throughout most of the year we have no need to water the plants, and when we do the rain butt is usually full. However, occasionally weeks can go by with no significant rain- like July 2018 and May 2020!
Mrs Wheelie Bin
Wheelie Bin Bob
During these times your help is vital and I’d like to thank Lilia & Bori, Alex, Bob, Carol, Shilpi & Faruk, Julia, Marcia & Kean (for weeding) and everyone else who has rescued a few plants for us this week by bringing water down in a variety of whatever containers!
There is finally a bit of rain in the forecast and the temperature is cooling, but as the world warms, we can expect these dry periods to be more frequent. To make sure our plants (aka pollinators and carbon emitters) can survive dry periods we are installing another rain water butt, donated by the Whale family in Southville and HCCA are looking installing an emergency water supply. We are also paying close attention to the types of plants that thrive in dry weather and planting more of them.
But local volunteers are vital to keeping the Piazza green and tidy. We’ve created some basic watering and weeding guidelines so that anyone can join in. We will put these on our new noticeboard.
If you like sociability, or need some gardening tools, or don’t feel confident to garden alone, do contact us on our Facebook page or email Anna and she will arrange company.
Guidelines for Piazza Gardening
If we have very dry periods or you notice the plants looking parched can you help water?
There is a rain butt located behind the wall pictured here- please bring a watering can or a bottle to fill, or bring water from your home if the rain butts are empty.
It is best to water plants when the sun is not on them. This is tricky at the Piazza, so early morning or late evening are the best times.
The areas that the community is responsible for are:
The Maple grove and sedum beds
The rain garden
We will be asking for help with weeding over the summer and Autumn once we have sorted out our garden waste
Unless you have a litter picker or some gloves we are not advising the public to help with this until further notice. If you do pick up litter the bins by the mural above are regularly emptied by Bristol Waste Street Cleansing team, who deserve a big thanks for all the gritty cleaning jobs in our city (below, picking up food as a thanks from Chai Shai)
We welcome ideas for improving the space and making it work for everyone. These could be painting, planting, events or enhancing children’s play. Please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be posting more activities over the next couple of weeks.