This August Bank Holiday weekend I was excited to go to the inaugural MAKEMORE festival 2018, held in the wonderfully leafy Victoria Park, London. MAKEMORE is a festival for makers and doers, or in other words, a ‘festival for the hands’. Held over five days, the festival featured a line-up of drop-in craft workshops, demos, maker markets, talks, live music, stand-up comedy, and street food.
One of the highlights of the festival for me were the two beautifully curated makers markets – the first from Urban Makers, featuring everything from plant pots to jewellery, and the second from Turning Earth, featuring a host of beautifully handcrafted ceramics. I fell in love with the 3D printed plant pots from Nilli, the cement planters from heimdesign, and bought a vase from Puya Ceramics.
I had read on the website that the ticket price included a whole host of creative experiences, making sessions and open workshops, with no need to fork out for extra add-ons once inside, but the reality is that you’ll most likely want to book onto some of the additional ‘specialist’ workshops in advance, as these make up most of the hands-on experiences available at the festival, and looked great fun!
There were some free workshops and demos happening throughout the day, such as at the Obby UK tent, but many were either over-subscribed (with people being turned away), or a tad infrequent, and not all tents were proactive about inviting you in and getting you involved. We popped into The Bread Station tent, for example, to find that we’d missed their only bread-making demo of the day. “Dough!”
That being said, if you were organised enough to get a seat on the workshops, they looked really well run, and the teachers were clearly very passionate. If I could do my time again, I’d definitely try to get hands-on with the Turning Earth pottery wheel sessions, the spoon carving with Barn the Spoon, and the terrarium making with The Botanical Boys. The family cooking sessions also looked to be popular.
The tent where we had the warmest welcome was Jealous Gallery & Print Studio, where two friendly staff invited us to master the squeegee with screen-printing. We picked our colours, and they showed us how to drag the squeegee over a screen to print a tiny bird illustration onto a postcard. As the heavens had opened, we were fortunate to be joined in the tent by the Stamfold Hill Billies Street Band!
For those with children in tow, there were some kid-friendly maker workshops from Little Angle Theatre and Polka Theatre, as well as face-painting and a fun fair. You could also hang out with The Exploration Society and their giant fire to learn about bush-craft activities from carving to fire-lighting.
Elsewhere at the festival we came across artist in residence, Adébayo Bolaji, where you could sit and watch him work. There were also Paint Jam drop-ins and poster-making sessions for all ages, although the weather put an abrupt end to the latter unfortunately. Weather-wise, the woman in the yellow rain coat eating an ice-cream perfectly summed it up… and I think more marquees were summoned!
All in all, we had a fun day and enjoyed the relaxed vibe of the MAKEMORE Festival. Considering this was its first year, I can’t wait to see what the festival will bring next year. If I were to suggest one improvement, it would be MORE free workshops (+ clarity on timings of those workshops), plus the option to book your space on the ‘free’ sessions in advance (a bit like The Handmade Fair), so you don’t miss out.
We explored the festival by day, but I’d love to hear from anyone who stayed on to enjoy the festival by night? Did you enjoy the comedy acts? Thank you to MAKEMORE Festival for inviting me to check-out the inaugural festival. Bring on MAKEMORE fest 2019!