Paradise for shoppers, aspiring cooks and the hungry! Specially-curated markets and foodie events bring the best in lovingly-made street food, fashion, arts and crafts
A chance to commission a portrait of your pet from a professional artist, cook up a storm using food otherwise designated for supermarket waste and feast on the finest in locally-sourced street food – all of this and more is waiting for visitors to the second National Festival of Making, taking place in Blackburn, Lancashire over Sat 12 – Sun 13 May 2018. Over 30,000 people attended last year’s festival, with many settling down with a locally-roasted coffee and lovingly-made cake before hitting the Makers’ Market, with many of last year’s most popular makers, and a raft of fantastic newcomers, announced for this year’s weekend of eating, drinking and shopping.
Expertly curated once again by Hopeful and Glorious, the floor of the grand, historic King George’s Hall is to be occupied by an army of high-quality hand makers, providing a literal ‘one stop shop’ for buying the very best in one-off designs from around Lancashire and beyond.
It’s not every day that a dog, cat or budgie has their likeness immortalised, yet the arrival of animal-obsessed design studio Make Like A Bandit to the festival presents just that opportunity. Portraits of treasured pets are lovingly hand-drawn from a favourite photo, then it’s just the owner’s decision as to how big it is printed before hanging it, pride of place above the mantelpiece. Similarly brilliant graphic artwork travels to Lancashire from Leek in Staffordshire as Fiona Wilson returns to the festival with a stunning range of risograph prints and absolutely must-have spotty-patterned, wooden vases. Jewellery makers like Fedha Designs, add a sense of contemporary sparkle to the festival, bringing more bold design and high-quality making as a very welcome newcomer for 2018.
On the food front, the Taste Lancashire marquee will play host to many of the county’s most renowned food and drink makers, including Calyx Drinks from Burnley, who create botanical juices and syrups the natural way to give thirsty festival goers an antioxidant, vitamin-rich boost, while treats from makers like Choc Amor, hailing from Mawdsley, satisfy cravings for something sweet.
As a festival that’s all about getting hands-on, Manchester’s Cracking Good Food visits Blackburn to turn unsold food into delicious, wholesome and fun-to-cook meals, gathering families together to get busy in the kitchen. Linking with Fareshare, a national charity with a mission to tackle hunger by limiting unnecessary food waste, the cooking sessions will use fruit and vegetables that would have otherwise gone uneaten, bringing lessons in sustainability, food equality and cooking skills together in one, vibrant community-focused event.
Bringing a more competitive edge, Blackburn College joins the festival with the results of the ‘Reg Johnson Young Chef Schools Competition’ held for the first year in memory of influential Goosnargh poultry farmer, Reg Johnson. Over two months, celebrity chefs, Nigel Haworth and Paul Heathcote have gone in the search of Lancashire’s next superstar chef, with the contest coming to a head just prior to the festival to make the winning dish available for festival visitors to buy over the weekend.
The National Festival of Making happens just once a year and it is here that we gather together many of the very best makers from around Lancashire and beyond to create an unrivalled sense of occasion as well as an unparalleled opportunity to find the unexpected item of clothing, art or homewares we never knew we needed. Wayne Hemingway
The promise of ‘a new kind of festival for a new age of making’ by the Lancashire-born designer, was fulfilled in 2017 with the first, ever National Festival of Making, with visitors taking part in over 100 making experiences and encountering 57 invited makers, spanning food, technology, major manufacturing, engineering and crafts, alongside indoor and outdoor markets, art installations, film screenings and celebrity cookery demonstrations. Hemingway and festival producers, Deco Publique, join forces again to ignite imaginations and fill the streets.
From textiles to terracotta, Blackburn and neighbouring Darwen are at the heart of making history in Britain, a place where the Industrial Revolution blossomed and where manufacturing and entrepreneurship still blooms. The National Festival of Making aims to extend the reach of making into the communities of Lancashire and beyond, raise national and international awareness of the benefits of making and inspire others to consider their own talents, aspirations and making potential.