Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Getting crafty at the Make and Mend Festival

I've always thought of myself as quite a creative person; trying to find the best solution to a problem or making something look pretty. Although I wasn't really into crafts when I was younger, as I've grown up and got my own space, I'm always keen to do a bit of D.I.Y. Last month, I was invited to go along to the first-ever Make and Mend Festival, set up by two lovely ladies with a passion for creativity and mindfulness.

Held at Preston Hall Museum, the event brought together craft lovers from across the Tees Valley to take part in a number of workshops where we created some gorgeous and hand-crafted goodies. We were down on the morning to take advantage of the three different workshops we'd been booked on to. First up was glass engraving held in a classroom down the Victorian Street.

Make and Mend Festival Preston Park Hall Museum Craft Teesside Stockton
Make and Mend Festival Preston Park Hall Museum Craft Teesside Stockton
Make and Mend Festival Preston Park Hall Museum Craft Teesside Stockton Glass Etching
Make and Mend Festival Preston Park Hall Museum Craft Teesside Stockton Glass Etching

Led by Bloom in Art, the class allowed each participant to make either a pendant or a key ring. We each had to think of something that meant a lot to us, or that we want to be reminded of on a daily basis. I chose to etch 'Explore', as I love to travel and I want to do it a lot more. The process involved adding sticker stencils to you piece of glass, covering it in an acid paste and leaving it for around 15 minutes until the glass around your stencil had gone cloudy and your words remain clear and smooth. Once the acid was washed off, it revealed your design and we followed this up by drilling out a hole to then attach to our chosen fixing.

It was a very creative class which involved mediums I'd never used and methods I had never done. Although it was great to create my key ring, I don't think I'll be breaking in glass etching anytime soon. 

After this, we had some lunch from The Sitting Room in Guisborough's pop-up stall. They offered a number of gorgeous salads to be accompanied by meat or halloumi. I chose the tabbouleh with bulgar wheat, tomato, onion, parsley and mint, and the spicy tomato, onion and chickpea salad with a side of grilled halloumi and a dollop of mint yoghurt. It was so delicious and filling. I followed this up with a cheeky brownie but I ate this too quick to snap a picture.

Make and Mend Festival Preston Park Hall Museum Craft Teesside Stockton The Sitting Room Guisborough

After our lunch, we had a little bit of time before our next session which we used to wander around and have a nosy at what everyone else was doing. A few of the classes we spotted were brush lettering, floral painting and papercutting which all looked very interesting. Our second class of the day was embroidery which was led by Make and Mend's own Rachel. We all had the chance to embroider our own hoop which was pre-marked out with the words 'choose happy'. Rooting through Rachel's box of threads, all of our hoops came out very different due to the varied colours we chose. As I'd already done a bit of embroidery, this was familiar to me but it was great to be able to do more and practise the stitches I'd already learnt.

Make and Mend Festival Preston Park Hall Museum Craft Teesside Stockton Embroidery

The final class of the day took place in the conservatory which was unfortunately like a sauna as it was an extremely hot day. Nevertheless, we got stuck into making terrariums with Hoes & Ditches. As I'm not very green-fingered, it was great to have the chance to put together my terrarium adding stones, soil, picking the plants I wanted and then adding the finishing touches with pebbles and moss. I was really proud of my final effort which wasn't as hard to put together as I first thought.

Make and Mend Festival Preston Park Hall Museum Craft Teesside Stockton terrarium
Make and Mend Festival Preston Park Hall Museum Craft Teesside Stockton terrarium

I was extremely pleased to have been invited along to Make and Mend festival to try out all the exciting classes. There was a great turnout of advanced crafters and beginners, all wanting to learn new skills. Holding this in Preston Hall Museum was a fantastic idea and the venue worked wonderfully for what they needed. This was the first event that Make and Mend had run, and I'm hopeful they will organise others so I can try more crafts. If you want to keep up to date with Make and Mend, see if they decide to run further events or purchase one of their craft kits, follow them on Facebook or keep an eye on their website.

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© gingerbread smiles.

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