Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Three Days In Blackburn



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 OldhamHamish 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.

14 comments:

  1. It looks amazing, a great weekend. I was a little intrigued by the pods.

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    1. The pods were great. The artist had worked with a local cardboard producer to produce the installation. We were only allowed a few at a time into the space, as it is a building site, but it was calm and energising at the same time. The artist and architect were both there to answer any questions about the piece or the building too.

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  2. I am sure this event was on the news the other day,

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    1. I heard quite a bit of coverage on the radio, especially about the Cherry Tree Bakery dancers.

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  3. Sounds like a really interesting event.

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    1. It really was, it's one of those things it's hard to describe as it was such a varied programme over such an area, but I hope it is on again in future years.

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  4. It looks like a fun event! Great photos too :)

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    1. Thanks, it was a really good weekend.

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  5. I always confuse Blackburn, Burnley and Bolton and not even sure which of the three I have been to! They are only up the road from us so I will make a note to give Blackburn a visit as it looks quite interesting. Is it a yearly event?

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    1. I hope there will be another event next year, this year was the first one.

      I'm not sure I'd make a trip to Blackburn for a visit if there wasn't an event on, but I'm sure there are hidden gems in the town.

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  6. What an interesting event... I hope that they have the funding and interest to repeat it. Jx

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    1. It really was something a bit different. Wherever we went volunteers asked us where we were from and how we'd heard about the event so the evaluation team should have a lot of information to work with.

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  7. Looks very interesting and there seems to have been something for everyone.

    God bless.

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    1. There really was something for everyone, it was family friendly without being too child-based which was great.

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