Tuesday, 2 May 2017

South Bristol Arts Trail

There are lots of things Bristol does well - green spaces, independent shops, cool bridges - but when it comes to creativity, the city is a veritable powerhouse of interesting people doing interesting stuff, from street art (Bristol hosts Europe's largest graffiti festival, Upfest, each summer) to screen printing and every conceivable artistic discipline in between. 

I'll admit that when I started working at Aardman, I was pretty overwhelmed by the wealth of creative talent housed in just one building; and in between doing their creative day jobs, my colleagues somehow find time to pursue other interesting side projects too (whereas I usually just go home and do the ironing...)

Through working at Aardman I've had the great pleasure of being introduced to not only some lovely people, but also the interesting projects they work on around their day jobs. Take Jodie, for example, one half of Bristol-based design duo Peskimo

By day, Jodie does a variety of freelance jobs at Aardman but in between she creates the most gorgeous illustrations with her husband David. Appearing on colourful prints and quirky accessories, I was instantly drawn to Peskimo's retro-inspired aesthetic and have a few of their pieces now hanging in my home. 

It was also through Jodie that I got to hear about the South Bristol Arts Trail, an annual event that has become one of the biggest and most popular arts trails in the city. I've pottered around the trail a couple of times now and this year promises to be another fab event, with over 45 homes and public spaces opening their doors in the Southville, Bedminster and Ashton areas. 

On my first visit a few years' back, I really enjoyed exploring less familiar city streets, with the added bonus of having a snoop in some seriously arty houses and taking in the talents of some of Bristol's most inspiring illustrators, screen printers, ceramicists and jewellery makers. 

There's something really lovely about grabbing a coffee and wandering from street to street, popping into artists' homes, having a chat and perhaps picking up something a bit unique for your home - so much nicer than filling your walls with mass produced pieces from Ikea. I've always found prices to be very accessible too - you should find something that brings a little joy into your life without breaking the bank.

But what if you have kids in tow - surely, dragging them from house to house to 'look at art' isn't the most child-friendly activity to fill a Saturday afternoon? Aside from the obvious risk attached to errant toddlers let loose in houses filled with artworks, your little ones are well catered for at this year's event with children's workshops taking place at a variety of venues during the weekend. Make an animal shadow puppet, mask, or head over to the Tobacco Factory for a special Bricolage workshop with the Let's Make Art team and get stuck into an exciting sculpture project.

If your kids love getting creative in the kitchen too, there's the chance to try their hand at some Indian cookery with The Thali Cafe. While you tuck into some lunch, your kids can learn how to make chapattis and lassis, as well as designing and decorating their placemats and colouring in a special limited-edition ice cream bowl, which they can take away as a souvenir. 

And don't miss Roy Gallop's Wonky House workshop, featuring mechanical toys for children of all ages and a human juke-box...that's right, a HUMAN JUKE BOX. If that doesn't sell this event to you, I'm not sure what will. 

Oh, and did I mention that you get all of this eclectic entertainment for free? You can also drop into the Tobacco Factory for music, St Francis Church for choral entertainment and Trika Yoga for some free stretching and mindfulness. 

If that sounds like an eclectic mix of weekend entertainment you can get on board with, you can find out full details about the South Bristol Arts Trail on the website here.



  1. I went to the Thali cafe years ago now and it was fab. loving the artwork you show here from Peskimo - going to have a nose !

    1. Thanks for reading! The Peskimo stuff is lovely - I have lots of prints at home. The arts trail is great for discovering local talent and for picking up some unique pieces for your walls! There's also a North Bristol trail in the autumn.


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