‘Make’ your weekend at The National Festival of Making

Published Monday 30 May 2022 at 13:25

The award-winning festival returns to Blackburn Town Centre on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th June, with free fun for all the family.

For the first time since 2019, the Festival will hit Blackburn’s streets, shops and museums to bring together tens of thousands of visitors of all ages.

Focussed around making and creativity, the weekend will host an array of live dance and music performances, free workshops, delicious food stalls and so much more!

Key highlights include Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant’s Sustainable Bingo and Taste Lancashire’s Food Producers’ Market, alongside international exhibits, newly commissioned artworks and improvised live music.

As with previous years, The National Festival of Making Maker’s Market returns with illustrators, fashion designers, jewellery makers and more showcasing their original products at Blackburn Cathedral.

And that’s not all! The many workshops for families, children and young people have an emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) skills, helping to inspire our local ‘makers’ of tomorrow – with activities including creating your own Shaun the Sheep model, collage workshops and making with recycled materials.

To view the full programme visit www.festivalofmaking.co.uk. Some of the workshops require booking, so be sure to check out the website and book your spot to avoid disappointment on the day.

The festival are also looking for a brilliant team of ‘Festival Makers’. If you’d like to volunteer and help create an incredible experience for all to enjoy, then please sign-up here via the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership website.

Visitors can enjoy:

  • Model Making with Aardman Animations (booking required):
    Aardman, the Academy Award-winning animation studio that famously gave the world Wallace and Gromit, Shaun The Sheep and Chicken Run, arrive at the festival to create models of some of their TV and film favourites, as well as having an animator on hand to share tips and anecdotes with anyone aspiring to follow their footsteps into the industry.
  • Sustainable Fashion Bingo with Patrick Grant:
    When not judging The Great British Sewing Bee, Patrick Grant runs Blackburn-based social enterprise, Community Clothing, and raises awareness of the issues surrounding fast fashion. Exploring the challenge the industry and fashion-lovers face, Patrick will host his brand-new Sustainable Fashion Bingo – a points-based race to find out what we really know about the clothes on our backs.
  • Art In Manufacturing:
    Since 2017 the Art In Manufacturing series has matched artists with industry-leading manufacturer’s. The results have been completely unpredictable and have brought life many of Blackburn’s hidden spaces through pop-up exhibitions and installations. 2022’s edition presents work from six artists and manufacturers, promising work in sculpture, film and sound. Artists taking part include Jacqueline Donachie, Raisa Kabir and Hannah Leighton Boyce.
  • Workshops for Grown-Ups (booking required):
    It’s good to keep the kids happy, but what about the adults? The National Festival of Making 2022 has developed a unique strand for grown-ups to make, with creative workshops just for them. Fancy a go at traditional leatherworking? Early booking is advised for the Diamond Awl workshop sessions, and for Book Binding with artist Ian Halawi.
  • Zimoun:
    Swiss artist Zimoun bring a large-scale installation to Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery in a rare UK visit. As much a sound experience as it is visual, the piece combines 133 small motors, cotton balls and cardboard boxes in a room-filling percussive piece. Don’t miss out!
  • Taste Lancashire Food Producers’ Market:
    Lancashire is one of the UK’s richest food producing regions, and one of the most popular National Festival of Making spots is the Taste Lancashire Food Producers’ Market. Expect local spirits, Lancashire cheese-makers, bakers, beekeepers and more! An essential taste of Lancashire.
  • The Big Reinvention Challenge Exhibition:
    The Big Reinvention Challenge was launched in early 2022 with Little Inventors. Children and young people from Lancashire and beyond were asked to come up with new, fun or helpful ideas to save old, unwanted items from going in the bin, with sustainability as they driving focus. The festival will exhibit the ideas that impressed the judges most, with professional makers bringing the brightest ideas to life!
  • Hands-On Families – Cardboard, Printing, Woodcraft and more:
    There’s so many opportunities to get busy across the festival weekend with making-focused workshops for families. Confirmed for 2022 is the Poster People project by Let’s Make Art, inviting visitors to join in a collage workshop and playful installation. There’s also STEAM-based activities, including joining Relic to shred and remake plastic bottle tops into carabiners to take home using their state-of-the art machinery.
  • Let’s Talk:
    For anyone who has something to get off their chest, or ever thought they’d missed their invitation to appear on a talk show, this year the festival welcomes Talkaoke. On open, public discussion hosted by a professional moderator, the conversations are expected to be fast-moving, funny, emotional, out-there and everything in between! Creative Lancashire are also hosting a series of curated talks to take place throughout the weekend.

Looking forward to the Festival weekend, Council Leader for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Phil Riley, says:

“We are incredibly proud to be hosting the National Festival of Making for a fourth year and are very much looking forward to welcoming residents and visitors alike, bringing communities together for a fantastic celebration of art, creativity, making and fun. The Festival creates a massive buzz about our borough, drawing in visitors from all over the world, supporting local business and letting people know more about Blackburn and what we have to offer. Our town is one with a heritage rich in manufacturing, and playing host to the National Festival of Making underlines how important this still is to us. We are truly proud of our history and excited by the future we’re making.”

Ahead of his Sustainable Fashion Bingo, Patrick Grant says:

“The skill in producing a piece of clothing that’s made to last is one that’s precious and often undervalued. Fast fashion is a problem for us all to solve together but, I don’t see any reason why that can’t be fun now and again. This year’s National Festival of Making will feature me and the lovely visitors checking out what each other is wearing, how long we’ve had it, how it’s made, where it’s come from and other aspects of our individual style and buying decisions to inform ourselves and win some prizes hand-picked by me.”

Having first been held in 2017, The National Festival of Making was founded by Lancashire-based culture company, Deco Publique and renowned designer, Wayne Hemingway MBE.

Attracting 40,000 people to Blackburn town centre over consecutive years, the festival continues to shine a light on the incredible artistry, creativity and manufacturing of Lancashire and the wider UK.

Ahead of this year’s festival, Co-Director of the festival, Deco Publique’s Lauren Zawadzki says:

“After a challenging two years for communities not only in Lancashire but around the country it’s a good time to remind people of the benefits and opportunities of making, as well as celebrating the resilience and ingenuity of makers that have weathered recent history. From cheese makers to world-leading innovators in robotics, textile artists to street performers, we return to The National Festival Of Making this year to both share in examples of making, manufacturing and the creative industries’ endurance, but look positively towards a future with everyone taking part.”

Connect with The National Festival of Making online at www.festivalofmaking.co.uk as well as via social media:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/festofmaking

Facebook: www.facebook.com/festofmaking

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thefestivalofmaking

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