MakeMore Festival: London’s new crafting convention for the makers, doers and creatively curious
The creators of MakeMore Festival have harnessed what may be the last of the sun-soaked days and balmy evenings, they’ve rounded up more than 100 of the brightest creatives and they’ve set up a haven in East London’s Victoria Park. Here, festival-goers can scratch their artistic itch, whether they be professionals looking to master new skills or total amateurs eager to relive their Blue Peter-watching childhoods. Set across five days at the end of August, this latest London fest gathers together craft workshops, theatre, talks, comedy, street food, market stalls, bars and music, and must surely be the start of something huge.
There are some big names on the lineup. The beloved Aardman, creators of both Wallace & Gromit and Morph, are holding workshops on modelling clay puppet-making and storyboarding. Ground-breaking physical theatre company Frantic Assembly are leading devising classes. Prolific street artist Nathan Bowen, whose signature style will be familiar to residents from Croydon through to Shoreditch, is imparting his dynamic artistic wisdom. There’s woodwork, bushcraft demos, textile weaving, jewellery making, terrarium creating, beekeeping advice, screen printing, cooking… And when you’re tired of the doing and the making, sit back and be entertained by stand-up comedy, film, live bands and theatre, and sample exquisite food and drink.
On MakeMore’s launch night, the opening Thursday, we are able to try out two picks from its smorgasbord of activities. We begin with the Gromit workshop with Aardman, led by their set-dresser and prop-maker of 15 years, Helen Javes. Sat around long tables in an airy tent, we’re given the requisite modelling clay and shown, step-by-step, how to transform it into a replica of Wallace’s famous housemate. The final result for every participant is pretty spot-on, from his furrowed brow to his pea-sized toes. Private promises are made to keep up clay modelling at home; it’s got to be the most therapeutic pastime in existence. We take our Gromits away with us. They harden a little in the cool evening air; Helen assures us they’ll remain intact if left alone but will always be malleable enough to remodel at home if desired. A hands-on workshop with the giants of stop-motion animation whose work has run through our childhoods: what a buzz.
On to Supper Club in The Rose Garden, where a long table, laid with a white tablecloth and adorned with roses and tealights, waits in a secluded spot beneath the trees. MakeMore has enlisted four chefs to showcase their skills and tonight we’re in the hands of the immensely talented Paola Carlini. Her lovingly curated “The Essence of Food” is all about eating what you smell and comprises five dishes to represent different fragrance groups (“smoked and spicy”, “pine and woody”). She talks us through base and secondary aromas and the idea of translating a scent into a texture. As the last light fades, the underlighting beneath the trees and the fairy lights come into their own. We’re treated to mouth-watering creations such as coffee-baked sweet potato and lavender-infused figs. Carlini sprays specially paired fragrances across the table as we eat, so that just about every one of our senses is standing to attention.
This is just a small glimpse of what’s in store at MakeMore. There’s plenty for kids to get stuck into as well, including workshops by Little Angel Theatre and Polka Theatre as well as a funfair and face painting. Most of the activities are included in your ticket price but there is a £10-£15 fee for a very select few.
For those who want more than just revelry from their festival, for the makers and doers and the creatively curious, this festival is for you. It’s the antidote to the monotony of your nine to five, and a playground of possibilities. Don’t miss out.
MakeMore Festival is at Victoria Park Grove Road London E3 5TB from 23rd August until 27th August 2018. For further information visit the festival’s website here.