Over the bank holiday weekend in August, we attended the Make More festival in Victoria Park. A festival for makers and doers. This concept was one that immediately sung to us the minute we heard about it. We were thrilled to be asked to be a part of it.
London's Makers Community
The maker's community in London is a huge one, and curiosity is something that surrounds it's members lifestyles, talents and way of work. People are becoming a lot more conscious with the way they purchase products, caring about their origin, background and the way they were made. Quality is bucking the quantity trend of recent years and the maker's movement, in particular, is seeing a peak in interest based on the back of that.
With so many people able to freely share ideas and spread inspiration across the web, makers are forming communities of their own, and more people around the world are becoming influenced to be makers. Etsy now has over one million artisan sellers who have created handmade products to be sold on the site. (The site also did nearly a billion dollars in revenue last year, clearly indicating there is also extremely high demand for these handmade goods.)
However, even with the likes of Instagram and Etsy and every other website where you can connect with people online, you miss the all-important part of the maker's movement. The people, and their stories, behind the product. At Obby we encourage people, yes, to browse online, but ultimately to book a learning experience with a talented individual and go and learn directly from them, face to face. This is why we aligned to well with Make More festival, a festival created to not only celebrate the maker's movement but also to bring makers all together in one place.
Make More is an incredible festival with some of the biggest maker names from across London including Goldfinger Factory, Barn the Spoon, Flying Leaps, East London Printmakers and Jealous Print Studio, as well as Obby, of course. For people who find themselves not 'involved' in the maker's scene, it can seem daunting to take a step into. Attending galleries and open studios is something that happens once in a blue moon, but for a festival like this to take place, celebrating some of the cities talents all in one place, it was bound to be loved by all.
Obby at Make More
At Make More we curated an Obby market and Obby workshops for festival go-ers to take part in. The market was heaving, with leather goods, handmade notebook and candles all being sold by the very people who made them. We wanted our teachers a chance to show off what they do in their day to day lives, as teaching is not all of it. As a maker, you submerge yourself in everything, from craft markets to bespoke orders and teaching others. When your job is your passion, as with all our teachers, you jump at every opportunity you can to get their work out there to the public.
Our Obby workshops were immensely popular, with crowds forming at the start of each one, o people hoping to grab an empty seat. It was fantastic to watch, curious people getting their hands involved in something they'd never done before. A lot of people that came to the festival were invested in the maker community, a few had already attended Obby's and others were just curious in the maker's movement, but everyone was interested in the people they were connecting with as well as the skills they were learning.
What did we teach?
We taught over 250 students new skills, and met hundreds more curious folk! Our workshops were all hand-picked by us to showcase the wide range of talent we have on Obby and all the fun things you can learn to do.
The Botanical Boys taught their terrarium workshops. Get lost in a world of imagined gardens in these workshops as Darren, the founder of Botanical Boys guides you through how to create your own self-sustainable garden in a jar.
Maiden Aunt taught an array of her fantastic modern crafting workshops. Jay's work always plays on the traditional crafts including embroidery and college but her craft kits and workshops have a millennial twist. Quirky designs in easily accessible craft kits, Maiden Aunt taught people how to make swishing tassel necklaces.
Lucy Heale, founder of by London Refinery was on hand teaching scented candle making workshops. She guided her student through the essence of scent pairing, encouraging them to create their own signature smell that they then combined with the wax to create their own hand poured candles.
IndiSkoven Prints was there teaching workshops alongside Obby. Elizabeth started IndiSkoven prints recently where she uses watercolour to create beautiful patterns and prints inspired by nature. She gave people a taster of her regular workshop, teaching the students to paint with watercolour for the first time.
J&J workshops were there introducing people to work with metal stamps and using them in jewellery design. Encouraging their students to use letters, punctuation and line stamps to create an abstract and beautiful design on large aluminum disks, we were amazed at some of the finished designs.
Mary Maddocks was teaching a weaving masterclass, teaching students how to weave a tiny tapestry wall hanging with earthly tones reflecting her own fantastic style.
Make More was a fantastic celebration of a community in London that is underrepresented outside its craft markets. This fun festival combined the skills and ethos of makers and brought together people from all over the city to learn about why we make things, why it's important and why we should care about the person, the story being the product when we are buying.