2024 Festival Dates: 6 & 7 July

Lancashire Makers and Memories Wanted

9th April 2018

For The Making of a South Asian Wedding

Credit – Dee Patel


  • Artist Dawinder Bansal calls out to communities to contribute to ‘The Making of a South Asian Wedding’, gathering the traditional, family and community making skills that made food, clothing, decoration and more for a typical 80s celebration

  • In addition to asking for home makers to bring their skills, Bansal calls on women to attend The National Festival of Making in their wedding dresses

  • Photos and keepsakes of 1980s weddings are also sought by the artist


Credit – Dee Patel


Just a week before the nation gathers for the Royal Wedding, a vibrant celebration of South Asian marriage culture is planned as part of The National Festival of Making, returning to Lancashire from Sat 12 – Sun 13 May 2018. The sights, sounds, tastes and colourful making traditions of a South Asian wedding are to be recreated for all to enjoy, by acclaimed theatre producer and artist Dawinder Bansal. To make it happen, Bansal is searching for home makers who can bring their traditional skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to ‘The Making of a South Asian Wedding,’ along with wedding photos, keepsakes. She’s also calling on women to turn up over the weekend in their wedding dresses!

Planned as part of the innovative arts project Art In Manufacturing, and continuing themes developed in ‘Front Room Factories’, two hugely successful elements of the festival in 2017, Bansal aims to cross cultural traditions, time and family generations to recreate the making of a 1980s South Asian wedding in Blackburn town centre.

In search of authenticity and the participation of the Lancashire community, she is inviting the home-based artisans and the small businesses that can provide the unforgettable sensations that Bansal remembers from the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi weddings she witnessed during her youth.

In addition to making skills, Bansal invites women to delve into their past, their wardrobes and attics to find their wedding dresses, asking them to come along to the festival dressed as they did on their big day. Members of the community are also encouraged send in any photos of their own 1980s wedding, or that of a friend or relative, as well as sharing artefacts and keepsakes to add to the range of visuals bringing the colour and joy of a traditional South Asian wedding to life.

To get involved in ‘The Making of a South Asian Wedding’ home makers, small business owners and friends and family members of people with traditional making skills are invited to get in touch with info@festivalofmaking.co.uk 

Credit – Dee Patel

As a young girl growing up in the 1980s, I remember watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding on TV. In just a few weeks, the country will be getting excited about the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, so I’m absolutely thrilled to be creating ‘Making of a South Asian Wedding’ for The National Festival of Making leading up to a historic, national event.


Traditional South Asian weddings are a big deal and an important family occasion. Thirty years ago, heads of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi families practiced and passed down distinct making skills during the build-up to the wedding, bringing family, friends and the local community together to plan and prepare everything for the ceremony. The homes of the bride and groom would be full of aunties, uncles, children and extended family – everyone played a role in the celebrations.


Such important crafts and skills live on in many families in spite of wedding services offering convenient and ‘ready-made’ alternatives, which is why I am setting this project in the 1980s, a time when people had more time for making and for each other. I want everyone who can still craft ceremonial wedding items and clothing by hand or make special curries and snacks, usually on an industrial scale for hundreds of wedding guests, to get in touch and join me in rediscovering such warm, family-focused and highly-skilled traditions. Darwinder Bansal

Dawinder’s proposal to recreate elements of a traditional, 1980s-set South Asian wedding captured our imaginations immediately and we’re looking forward to working with the communities of Lancashire to bring their skills in making clothes, decorations, gifts and traditional foods to wider public recognition. Resulting in a celebration to sit at the heart of The National Festival of Making, the retro theme is intended to provide a celebratory focal point for visitors and residents coming along for two days of making experiences in May – Elena Gifford, Co-Director of The National Festival of Making and Curator of Art in Manufacturing

Introduced for the first time in 2017, Art In Manufacturing’s groundbreaking approach to the alchemy of culture, heritage and large-scale making resulted in the internationally-acclaimed sculptural installation Chromatogram, a collaboration between Manchester-based creative studio, Lazerian and Accrington’s The Cardboard Box Company, and Traysway, the humorous and heart-warming contemporary dance performance by Ruth Jones and bakers from Burnley’s Cherry Tree Bakery.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England and produced by The National Festival of Making and community-led arts commissioners Super Slow Way, Art In Manufacturing not only seeks to develop the ideas of artists in unfamiliar environments and create engaging and accessible new work, but also encourages investigation into Britain’s manufacturing and making heritage, specifically that of Lancashire, with direct engagement from independent makers and staff members of participating companies.

One of the most remarkable and rapidly established fixtures in the UK’s festival calendar, The National Festival of Making, returns for a second year to ‘the UK’s home of manufacturing’, Blackburn, Lancashire. The FREE to attend, two-day festival flooded the town with visitors from far and wide in 2017, drawing curious beginners, experienced makers and inquisitive families into 48 hours of making inspiration and promises yet more moments of inspiration in its second year.





2019 Trusts & Foundations

The National Festival Of Making Delivery Team

National Festival of Making is supported by the Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Brian Mercer Trust and Foundations and Partners. This project is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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