For a third year The National Festival of Making will gather many of the UK’s most exciting independent makers in one place to tempt visitors with ‘must-have’, one-off, conversation-starting products within the festival’s Makers Market, hosted in the cavernous King George’s Hall, Blackburn on Sat 15 – Sun 16 June 2019.
Handpicked by expert, maker’s market curators, Hopeful and Glorious, tens of thousands of expected visitors will have the choice of handmade jewellery, homewares, limited run fashion items and affordable art amongst over 50 indie traders making their way to the heart of Lancashire for one weekend only. Distinct from other artisan, weekend markets, the festival combines support for maker’s entrepreneurship with meaningful public exchanges beyond each transaction, with many makers also hosting workshops and demonstrations to introduce and pass on their skills in hands-on opportunities.
Of the artists and designers now confirmed, InkFlo Store from Manchester embraces intricate, yet homely illustrative techniques in a range of prints, many including loveable animal characters, while String Effects of Bury give new life to old guitar strings, putting the rock and roll into jewellery and each item no doubt having a few tales of life on the road to tell. Or is it still a case of ‘what happens on tour, stays on tour’?
Hand-painted, wooden brooches in bird form and elephant earrings are just two of the endearing designs from The Mountain and Me visiting from Rossendale, while the versatile The Old Man and Magpie from Leigh combines skills in furniture design with a range of hand-poured, botanical and fruit-infused candles in variants of tobacco, orange and black pepper to name but very few.
Unquestionably capturing the trend for bold shapes and the rush for colour, Loela from Saddleworth brings a range of jewellery in abstract designs and multi-colour, ‘it shouldn’t work, but it does’ assemblages of metallics and fabrics and straight and curved lines. Cushii, the work of designer Uzma Padia from Preston presents a duo of unmissable Custard and Bourbon Cream cushions in a range of printed soft furnishings, while Sketcher and Maker from Leeds join the line up with lampshades, cards and tote bags, gathered in coloured sets and themed collections.
Sketcher and Maker are also one of the traders to host a workshop, with the opportunity for visitors to learn how to make a lampshade, while hand-printed textile specialists Posner and Posner run a block and screen printing demonstration. Thrift Design will take the time to show visitors how they give spent plastics a new life creatively through the process of fusing and artist, Lync plan an introduction to a highly specialist yupo paper painting technique. Pip Cottage will demonstrate the creative uses of willow and weaving to make simple 2D shapes such as fish, with other hands-on and instructional demonstrations to be confirmed.
Lauren Zawadzki, Co-Director of The National Festival of Making, said: “The Maker’s Market is a popular port of call for festival visitors, who come to Blackburn in growing numbers from around the country to search out one-off making experiences as well as something special to take home at the end of the weekend. There’s an emphasis on bringing specifically handmade products and specialist skills to wider attention, as well as recognising and supporting the spirit and hard work of independent, small businesses and the 2019 line-up is no different.”
Heather Chapman-Fox of Hopeful and Glorious, said: “The 2019 National Festival of Making Maker’s Market has been one of the most exciting to assemble out of all of the three years to date, with so many high-quality, attention-grabbing artists and designers taking up the opportunity of meeting the festival’s enthusiastic visitors. It’s a genuine two-way exchange, not only of beautiful, handmade products, but of curiosity, knowledge and conversation between traders and visitors of all ages and backgrounds.”
The National Festival of Making, returns to Blackburn, Lancashire for its third year in 2019, with the free-to-attend festival moving to a summer date for the first time. Of the 40,000 people visiting the 2018 festival, 10,800 took part in over 100 workshop sessions, engaging with makers as diverse as leatherworkers, engineers, ceramicists, chefs, technologists and fashion designers.
The immediate impact on the local economy of the two-day event has been estimated at just under £1million in visitor spending over the festival weekend with over half of visitors visiting local restaurants, bars and shops during their visit. With 91% of visitors, 41% of whom were under-21, stating that they had been inspired to explore new making skills, the festival’s long-term aim is to continue raising national and international awareness of the societal and personal benefits of making, moving visitors to consider their own talents, aspirations and making potential.
The promise of ‘a new kind of festival for a new age of making’ was made by co-founder, director, and Lancashire-born designer, Wayne Hemingway. The pledge by the Red or Dead founder (which established its manufacturing base in Blackburn in 1983), now leading HemingwayDesign to realise socially-conscious, creative design projects and festivals, has led to a one-of-a-kind, town centre event successfully uniting food and drink, technology, major manufacturing, engineering, art, craft and design.
In December 2018, The National Festival of Making won Best Non- Music Festival, in the prestigious UK Festival Awards, recognising the festival’s inclusive atmosphere of discovery and celebration, as well as clinching Visit Lancashire’s Tourism Awards, Large Event of the Year accolade, the festival is set to grow to meet demand.
The National Festival of Making and Art in Manufacturing recently announced funding commitments from Arts Council England, which has confirmed grant funding support for the festival for both 2019 and 2020. These projects are made possible by money raised by National Lottery players. Further support is provided by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and a range of private sponsors.