by Elyse Wurm
CREATING a tree jumper to a stellar standard each year has made Jessica Thompson a worthy inductee into the Jumpers and Jazz tree jumper hall of fame.
Named as the inaugural inductee on Saturday, Ms Thompson heard the news shortly after the announcement, as she had to return to Brisbane last Thursday after placing her tree jumper.
"I was a little shocked, very proud and happy,” she said.
"It's very exciting.”
Ms Thompson's creation, Sherbert, is a fuzzy, bright beacon, which sits on Palmerin St.
Layering different textures and shades of yellow, orange and pink, it's a fascinating take on modern knitting.
"I had been working on another project and I purchased the eyelash yarn and out came Sherbert,” she said.
"Sometimes I have a type of yarn that determines what I'd like to do or I'll have an idea and it'll start something else.”
Ms Thompson said she started creating jumpers with her friend and fellow tree jumper creator, Helen Gross, when the festival first began and she was learning to knit.
As she became more confident in her craft, Ms Thompson said the pair ventured out to take on their own trees.
Between the two of them, they've been highly commended or won categories each year.
For the past two years, Ms Thompson has won the excellence in knitting and/or crochet category.
"Over the past couple of years I've noticed the standard of workmanship has developed,” she said.
"And the people have come from different places to get involved.
"It's great what people are coming up with.
"If it wasn't a competition I'd still do it.
"If the festival shuts this year, I'd probably make my pilgrimage and put the jumper on regardless.”
She was particularly impressed by the winner of the meander themed category, Narelle Mercer.
"It's probably the most incredible tree jumper I've seen,” she said.
Jumpers and Jazz visitors aren't the only ones who get to enjoy Ms Thompson's creations.
For the past four years she has successfully entered the World of WearableArt competition in New Zealand.
After discovering the international design competition while on holiday, Ms Thompson decided to enter alongside competitors from all over the world.
"Like Jumpers and Jazz the standard goes up every year,” she said.
"You've got to push yourself and come up with something creative.”
Previous creations can also be found as a mini-exhibition in the front window of AOK Clothing on Palmerin St.
Ms Thompson believes the hall of fame will help acknowledge the hard work put in by tree jumper creators each year.
"I think a lot of people who have been in there from the start have been creating some amazing pieces,” she said.
"It'll encourage them to keep going so they can be appreciated and applauded.”