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Two friends create Make & Mend festival to bring a fun-filled day of craft, colour and self-care to Stockton-on-Tees

On Sunday 1 July, Make & Mend Company will be taking over Preston Park Museum & Grounds, with a jam-packed programme of craft workshops, inspiring talks and wellbeing sessions. The festival created by two friends, Rachel Willis and Lyndsey Stephenson, is the first of its kind in the region and extols the virtues of crafting, creating and making for health, wellbeing and, of course, fun.

Co-Founder Rachel Willis said:

“We’ve planned a range of activities throughout the day for crafters to get involved with, including workshops, inspiring talks, expert craft demonstrations, big makes – think Art Attack! – plus, meditation and yoga classes for that all-important quiet moment.”

Tickets start at just £20, which includes access to the Festival for the entire day, plus a workshop of your choice. Ticket-holders can choose to make an on-trend terrarium, learn biscuit decorating from an expert, master the art of brush-lettering or the intricate skill of paper-cutting, made famous the world-over by Rob Ryan.

Workshops available on the day last for one hour; choose from:

Brush Lettering with The Crafthood

Floral Painting Class with KLB Design House

Soulful Hoop, Hand Embroidery with Make & Mend Festival founders Rachel and Lyndsey

Needle Felting with Gill Lyth

Papercutting with Lisa Bean

Mini Terrariums with Hoes & Ditches

Note to Self, Glass Etching & Engraving with BloomInArts

Biscuit Decoration with Rachel Pattison

Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness

Create a Vision Board with Debbie Stokoe

Says Rachel:

“The workshop element is about that collective experience of being together with like-minded craft lovers, positive thinkers and mindful makers. We wanted to give visitors the chance to get involved in a mixture of different activities, design their own day, relax and look after their mind, too! It’s really important to us that crafters can engage with us through buying one of our kits, but also through coming along to the Festival and meeting us in-person at one of our workshops!”

The idea for the Make & Mend Company, and subsequent Festival, came about during the more difficult periods of Rachel and Lyndsey’s life, and is their way of lending a hand to those who might be faced with similar adversities.

Says Rachel:

“Crafting is a way of taking my mind off the stresses of life; during difficult times, redundancy, illness, I turn to my love of making. I was doing it for myself at first but, when Lyndsey and I were both made redundant at the same time, I began to think about taking it in a new direction. Lyndsey and I had always enjoyed working together, and so, we thought, ‘Why don’t we set up in business together?’”

Adds Lyndsey:

“I’ve always struggled with self-confidence but, through practising wellbeing, I have gained the confidence to make positive changes in my life. When redundancy came up, I was brave enough to think, ‘We can do this!’ Taking care of my wellbeing has allowed me to value myself more.”

Now, through Make & Mend Company, Rachel and Lyndsey are on a two-woman mission to encourage you not only to get creative, but to look after your mental health, too.

For the Make & Mend Festival, Rachel and Lyndsey are determined to bring the feel-good factor to one of the Tees Valley’s best-loved venues and the place they call home: Stockton.

Says Lyndsey:

“Rachel and I really wanted the Make & Mend Festival to be in Stockton, because it’s where we’re both from. We’re passionate about working not only in the North East and the Tees Valley, but in our home town, too. All of our workshop leaders are local to the North East, and Preston Park is such a calm venue with a lovely atmosphere.”

Rachel agrees:

“Preston Park Museum is a very relaxing space to spend the day. Both the indoor and outdoor space is beautiful, plus it’s so easy to get to. We hope to make a real mark on the day; to decorate the site; to add colour to the already-beautiful surroundings.”

Tickets are available on Eventbrite and are priced at £20 before 11 June and £25 thereafter. Tickets:www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/make-mend-festival-tickets-45286017698

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