Last week I visited Blackburn on three separate occasions, all for The National Festival of Making. I've been to the town on many occasions but can't really tell you much about the place, although I believe it has a football team and they play in the third tier of English football*.
We got off to a bad start on Wednesday when we attended a really badly organised (paid) event about self-initiated projects, featuring Craig Oldham, Hamish Muir and Jane Foster. After being kept waiting for 40 minutes or so (some of that locked out of the building in the chilly evening) the talk was pretty interesting, although echoey as it was in the cathedral. I could have listened to Craig and Hamish talk for a looooong time around the subject, as they touched on some interesting points about mark making and creating meaning. I didn't hold our much hope for how well the rest of the festival would go.
I was, however, beyond pleasantly surprised when we arrived back there on Saturday, we could only stay for a couple of hours as we were going to the football. The festival covered individual makers old and young, small businesses and big national brands, all based in the area. We had a tour of the old Cotton Exchange which was more recently a cinema, is now in a state of disrepair and has now been taken over by... someone and will hopefully become a community interest building. There was so much to see and take part in - printmaking workshops, Pimms drinking, quilt making, stop-motion animated knitting, music, paper plane making, copper and leather work, 3D printing, singing, cooking demos, dancing... You get the idea, or maybe you don't, I am a little garbled.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few pictures from our weekend.
Blackburn catherdral exhibition/ lunch (I had this both days)/ Blackburn Cathedral exterior
Inside the Coffee Exchange, Liam Hopkins Chromatogram. This was amazing, each cardboard pod picked out colours from the building, I loved being in this space.
Activities tent/Robyn Woolston and MGS Plastics/ Michelle Wren and Graham & Brown Everyone Has A Roll
Another favourite of mine, Front Room Factories at The Bureau, a film all about local producers, including a pie maker, sweet treat business, woodworker and Cover Me, a fashion brand for modest clothing, brilliant innovative people working from their own homes.
We rounded off day two with a visit to Prism Gallery to see Jamie Holman and Roach Bridge Tissues Blackburn To The Fore. This went hand in hand with a Mitchell and Kenyon inspired memory video booth where people were invited to be filmed asking future generations to "remember me".
One town, one weekend, one large scoop of creativity, well done to all! More information about the things I've shown is available here.
*tongue in cheek obviously.