St Marks prepare for Jumpers and Jazz

The flower tower up close. Picture Jodie Locke.

The weather is getting colder and the clock is ticking down to July and so the members of the St Mark’s Guild have their knitting needles and crochet hooks at the ready.

You see, preparations are about to start for this year’s St Mark’s Jumpers and Jazz in July display – though, of course, a lot of the hard work is already done.

For the past two year’s the Guild and church community have been decorating the church’s stunning tower and turning into a Flower Tower.

For two weeks a net filled with handmade flowers is draped over part of the tower, making quite the talking point in the town and one of the fun displays of this very quirky and colourful festival.

And the St Mark’s community isn’t sitting on their laurels. With the tower done last year the yarn-bombing was extended to the front columns.

And now the volunteers are back at work creating even more visual excitement to the entrance of the church – though Guild member Elaine Stewart said they are not ready to divulge just what the new addition will be.

“In 2021 we decided we would do something for the 2022 Jazz and Jumpers in July Festival,” she said explaining the origins of the flower tower.

“Our church secretary had sent us a photo of a flower tower in England and we thought we could do it on our tower because our church looked very similar to their church.

“The tower is about 18 metres tall and the actual netting goes right from the top to the bottom. It’s covered by lots and lots of flowers that were hand-made, not just by St Mark’s Guild ladies, but by a wide range of people within the Warwick local area and beyond.

“The flowers came in from everywhere, we used about 2179 hand-made flowers. There are well-over 500 leaves on it and 300 metres rope vine that was hand made.

“The tower went up in 2022 and again last year. We will put it up again this year, it is the same as it was – we’re not adding to the actual netting but last year we added to the front of the church. “We covered the two stone pillars at the front of the church with extra flowers and leaves. It had a design of wattle flowers, gum nuts and gum leaves.”

She promised there will be more this time around – though Elaine and the other guild members are keeping just what that is under wraps until just before the festival next month.

“This year we are doing a little bit extra at the front of the church, I won’t say what we’re doing but we are doing more to the church.

“It’s growing every year, over the past three years we’ve been working on it and quite a few people have been involved but it is mostly run by St Mark’s Women’s Guild.”

And of course creating the flower tower and decorations has been just as much fun for the Guild as watching the faces of people when they see their creation.

“We use to work on it of a morning,” Elaine explained.

“We worked on it in workshops in the hall. It took quite some time to get the big tower done – not so much last year. This year we are just starting to meet now every Friday morning with just a few us to put it together.”

The whole eye-catching display will go up in Jumpers and Jazz week and stay up for the fortnight.

“There has probably been hundreds to thousands of people who have come past to have a look and take photos,” she said.

“It’s quite an attraction in Warwick for Jumpers and Jazz.”

She said it was lovely to be part of such a fun community event like the Jumpers and Jazz festival but it was also nice to be part of the Guild group working on the creations.

“It’s been lovely meeting with the ladies of a morning and working together. We have morning tea together. So, it’s been a real friendship thing as well.”

Creating the yarnbombing fun that adorn the church during the festival isn’t the end of the Guild’s participation in the festival.