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This year’s event was held at the brand new location of Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds near Redcar. The free weekend attracted a staggering 35,000 visitors, boasting over 140 stalls and countless family-friendly activities.
Among the programme were repurposed products from leading and emerging artists, craft demonstrations and workshops—not to mention mouthwatering locally-produced food and drink.
Check out our favourite bits from the fun-filled weekend…
At the entrance to the festival visitors were greeted by TV presenter and award-winning designer Max McMurdo and invited onboard the Gumtree #UpcycleRevolution bus. The old green double decker has been converted into a mobile upcyling workshop.
Visitors created their very own carnival lights made from reclaimed wood, fairy lights and coloured waxes. With help and guidance from Max’s team, initials, cacti and hearts were lovingly crafted and personalised.
Our very own Rust-Oleum columnist, Cheryl Lumley (pictured above, centre) was on hand to offer her expertise— splitting her time between the bus and the neighbouring den build. With a steady stream of visitors to the bus the upcycling was non-stop and everyone took home a unique handmade souvenir.
Next door to the Gumtree bus was Gateshead-based GWK Woodshed and partners, who work with the long-term unemployed and youths from disadvantaged backgrounds to turn waste and surplus timber into functional saleable products.
On show was an array of beautifully-upcycled pieces of furniture, some of which had been updated using Rust-Oleum paints. We loved GWK’s family den build where, after being given basic guidance, visitors were let loose with old pallets, hammers and nails and set about creating some very imaginative dens.
This proved to be hugely popular and the dens even evolved over the weekend, as more visitors came along and added additional features to existing structures; as well as creating new ones. A hit with the whole family, some completed dens even doubled up as lunch destinations!
A short distance from the entrance, in a beautiful walled garden, was ‘Redcar – The Town is the Menu’, a unique, one-off dining experience developed by Radio 4’s Simon Preston where a three course meal is served and hosted by local volunteers.
The menu was directly inspired by the local town with creative input from the people who live there. Signature dishes included the Pea Souper and The Salamander!
Dinner was served on a long communal style table adorned with glass bottle vases and wild flowers, perfectly fitting the surroundings.
There was a strong 1950s influence running through a cross section of the stalls, some of them even using upcycled vintage caravans as a backdrop to their wares. Taking a peak inside was visual delight as all elements of the interiors had been transformed to reflect the era.
To further the theme there was even a pop up vintage hair salon, offering gorgeous up-dos and magnificent glory rolls for just £5! A big hit with the ladies, there was an instant queue to have their locks transformed.
With 140 stalls in total there was an abundance of quirky furniture, jewellery, home wares and clothing sellers.
From recycled can hair accessories to plastic bag jewellery, each stall was environmentally conscious with a passion for repurposing and upcycling.
Our personal favourite was the tin box guitars from Spatchcock & Wurzill, wonderfully custom made musical instruments that had real personality.
Inside the Museum Pavillion and Courtyard you could take part in many hands-on activities including screen-printing your own t-shirt or shopping bag or fixing your broken electrical items or clothes at the Fix It Cafe. The cafe provided equipment and experts to help fix broken electrical items from TV’s to mobile phones.
As part of the open structure, anyone who attended the cafe with specialist knowledge could take on the role of a fixer. To have your out-of-date clothes fixed you could pay a visit to the cafe founders, Marek Zabrysch and Lindsey Duncanson, and a host of other professionals and amateur enthusiasts to repair and re-use.
The main stage provided great entertainment all weekend with performances from local bands and singers, brought together by ringmaster extraordinaire Paul L Martin. The fount of all festival knowledge, Paul was the life and soul of the event, promoting the festival attractions and just generally being fabulous. Always up for posing for a photo, he was a big hit!
The Festival of Thrift is a unique event in which all sorts of talented and inspirational people come together to share their love for sustainable living and upcycling.
This amazing event is due to return next year and must not be missed!