The Festival of Making has returned to Blackburn this weekend, bringing ‘so many creative people and ideas’ together.

The annual event held in the town centre, aims to celebrate creativity, manufacturing, and craftsmanship in Lancashire, from the kitchen table crafting to the factory floor.

It brings together artists, designers, manufacturers, and the general public to participate in various activities, workshops, demonstrations, and exhibitions, showcasing the rich heritage of making in the region.

The Festival of Making consists of more than 75 workshops, street performances, exhibitions, installations, markets, curated film screenings and talks in the town centre throughout the weekend (Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7).

James Anderson, a festival attendee who travelled into Blackburn town centre from Langho for the festival, said: “It’s exceeded all my expectations.

“It was a wonderful mix of creativity and craftsmanship, and I loved being able to participate in the workshops like handmade screen printing.

“The energy and passion of the makers were really nice to see."

Activities and exhibitions included sun printing in the Obscura Darkroom, one of the oldest photographic printmaking processes dating back to the 1840s, and events at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery.

TikTok sensation ‘The Poetry Machine’ was also present, where Beth Calverley creates free poems in conversation with visitors using her vintage typewriter.

Sarah Thompson, who had come all the way from Pendle, said: “It’s a fantastic event that brings together so many creative people and ideas.

“It's amazing to see the variety of crafts and the enthusiasm of everyone involved. I've learned new skills, met inspiring makers, and left feeling truly inspired.”

Also in attendance was Blackburn Stitch School, a new community commission that has been co-created with refugee, migrant and asylum-seeker community groups across the borough.

Poster designs were also made with Hot Bed Press and children from Roe Lee Park and St Mary & Joseph’s RC Primary School.

‘Esme Young and Patrick Grant in Conversation at the Festival of Making’ was popular with many attendees, being one of a just few ticketed events and it was a sell out.

Esme Young is an English fashion designer and television presenter who began her career in the 1980s by opening the fashion shop ‘Swanky Modes’ in Camden.

She makes costumes for the film industry, including titles such as Bridget Jones’ Diary, Romeo and Juliet and Trainspotting.⁠

Patrick Grant, a judge on The Great British Sewing Bee television series, also owns a campaigning clothes brand ‘Community Clothing’, which held a pop-up stall at the festival.

Community Clothing supports local clothing and textile manufacturers across the UK, with Patrick described as ‘an outspoken advocate for radical change in the fashion industry’.

Ahead of his and Esme's sell out event, Patrick said: “It's been brilliant.

"Despite mixed weather the sun came out and the streets are now filled with people.

"As ever, at the festival, there are so many cool things everywhere you turn or something amazing to be made. 

"This festival is different as it is so hands-on and it is different every year.

"I've managed to create some great things such as casting an arrowhead which was so fun to do.

"There is something to excite everyone in this festival and there is an endless number of fun things to do, and it's all free.

"Craft does not have to be expensive, but can still be fun and end up with a lovely result.

"We need to bring more crafts and art to everyone, and especially to school kids.

"Everyone should have the ability to make, as not only is it enjoyable, but it makes your brain behave in a creative way which is important for us as creative thinkers, but also our economy by creating new things and moving the world forward.

"Without art, our next generation of creative thinkers will not exist. We need art in schools, not learning basic knowledge that will not inspire our children."

The Festival of Making is a not-for-profit arts organisation with most events free, and continues in Blackburn town centre tomorrow (Sunday, July 7) from 11am to 5pm.