The Green Festival of Making & Mending was a year of small events culminating in a big festival on the 31st October 2015 Leicester. The whole year focused on fixing and creating things with secondhand and reclaimed materials. It stemmed from our own needs as we noticed our lack of skills to look after our possessions and realised that many others felt the same. We also knew Leicester must have many people with mending skills who would be happy to share them.
We wanted to get people believing that anyone can become a fixer and a mender, and the festival did this. The social bond created through making and mending together can also mend our surroundings and reinforce our ties with the people around us. There are people all around you happy to share their skills if you ask them – so don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help – we did and the response was great.
Finally, the festival was intended to remind ourselves that we do not need money and stuff to be happy, but we do need support from other people when a task makes us feel vulnerable or inadequate – and many people enjoy providing that support, as the buzz and energy at the festival demonstrated.
“I wanted to write to say a big thank you for putting the festival on and possibly a bigger thank you for asking me to be part of it. I was feeling doubtful about being able to do something for it even when I had arrived in the morning but such a gathering of beautiful passionate people really inspired me and gave me energy for the day. It was the best thing I've been to in Leicester, ever. Gives me such a good feeling and hope about this city.” Steve, Braunstone.
“It was a fantastic day. My son and I thoroughly enjoyed igloo making and the electronics and sharpening area upstairs. There was so much to do we could not fit it all in. I really enjoyed the workshops leading up to the festival. They have really encouraged and inspired me to do more to upcycle and repurpose.” Yvette, Aylestone.
“I overheard one person (who had been doing some repairs) say how good it was to have a day being alongside others doing ‘making and mending’ type work. He felt less ‘alone’ and it had lifted his spirits - you could tell.” Janet, Croft
- We had about 600 people come through the festival on the day and over 100 came to pre-festival workshops
- We diagnosed and sometimes mended over 50 items in the household repair room and sharpened at least 38 tools
- About 30 people got help with their bikes and even more got help upcycling/altering old clothes into wearable ones
- The marble run became a huge and splendid thing while over 50 children made cardboard cities and wheeled toys from junk
- The kitchen served homemade vegan soup and bread all day at top speed, and largely due to this and all the lovely volunteers who donated soup and bread, the festival raised about £850 in donations - which covers almost half the festival costs!
- Over 100 people went to the talks and over 40 to the workshops on consumerism (which for us were the heart of the festival)
- The art from old wire stall taught 36 people ranging from age 7 to 62 how to make trees and seahorses, and how to strip wire from dead electrical gadgets
- For much of the time the rag rug stall was invisible due to the press of people around it while over 30 people learnt how to sew T-shirt hankies, bunting and washable sanitary towels by hand
- At least 40 people took part in the jams and preserves swap and far more than that in the fabric swap
- 4 items got built during the day on the garden furniture from old pallets stall while at least 20 people had a go at dismantling pallets – and 2 coldframes got built by 40 odd passers by in the bottle greenhouses area