Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 13.20.18A LEADING North East fashion and costume designer is giving people across the region the opportunity to revive specialist craft skills – and to see their handiwork included in a huge summer event.

Artistic Director Paul Shriek is designing this year’s South Tyneside Festival parade, which will pay tribute to the 150thanniversary of Alice in Wonderland.

The parade – on July 4 through South Shields – will be on a grander scale than ever before, with magnificent floats and costumed characters.

And now people from across South Tyneside and the wider North East are being invited to help contribute to the event, by joining a number of free craft workshops.

Proggy Mat workshops are being held every Wednesday at Boldon Community Association until May 20, where anyone interested can go along and help use these time-honoured techniques to create topiary trees which will form part of the Wonderland parade.

Let by artist Kath Price, the sessions run from 4pm until 6pm, and are open to anyone wanting to help revive these craft skills.

There are also a number of opportunities to help create paper flowers for the parade, which will be used on hats.

These sessions, led by artist Claudia Van Lieshout Smit, are being run at Whitburn Parish Hall every Tuesday until May 19from 1pm to 3pm and, again, are open to anyone who would like to be involved.

“This year’s parade will be something spectacular,” said Paul, who is working alongside co-artistic director Matt Fox.

“But we are also using it as an opportunity to include as many people from the local community as possible and as a showcase for some of the skills that are linked with the region but might have been forgotten by many people.”

Anyone interested can just drop in at the sessions, but numbers are limited so it is advisable to book in advance by emailing Fiona McKeown at  Fiona.mckeown@customshouse.co.uk.

Paul and Matt are also interested in hearing from anyone with other skills they feel they could offer to help them create Wonderland.  Contact can be made via the website www.foxandshriek.com.