Fangfest celebration of arts, crafts, pots and gelato returns to Fangfoss next month

Fangfoss Pottery potter Gerry Grant demonstrating raku dunking in water

FANGFEST, the Fangfoss Festival of Practical Arts, will be held on September 3 and 4.

The event will take place from 10am to 4pm each day in the village four miles from Pocklington, co-ordinated by illustrator and designer Sarah Relf, the committee’s newest member, who trades as The Magpie’s Cabinet.

Now in its 22nd year, Fangfest was started by woodworker and carver Tony Dew, who owned the Rocking Horse Shop, in Fangfoss, until recently. He remains on the committee, alongside his wife, artist Shirely Davis Dew; Fangfoss Pottery potters Lyn and Gerry Grant; Mark Gibbins, from Jubilee Park; Sally Murray, landlady of The Carpenter’s Arms and acting treasurer; St Martins Church representative Maureen Trigg and the aforementioned Sarah.

More than 20 jewellery designers, potters, glass artists, sculptors, felters, handbag makers, painters, photographers, illustrators, printmakers, candle makers, willow weavers and wood carvers will be taking part.

Among the confirmed participants are Alec Allison (Yorkshire Orchards); Anna Byelova (handbags); Claire Bingham (chocolates); Dave Atkin (Woodwyrm); David and Jonathan Bird (Guggle & Torquith); Gwen Wilson (crafts); Heather Young (Resin Revery/knitwear) and Helen Whitehead (glass).

Making pots at Fangfest

So too are: Keith Pollitt (Taste of Yorkshire); Laura Thompson (illustrations); Lesley Peatfield (photography); Liz Riley (felt art); Mo Burrows (jewellery); Neil and Clare (Swirlz Gelato) and Pete Thompson (Spirit of the Wood).

In the line-up too will be: Richard Gibson (wire sculptures); Richard Moore (tiles); Rosie Scott-Massie (Glow Soap); Sarah Relf (illustrations); Sarah Willmott (wood crafts); Sheila Downing (Crafty Alfredo) and Steven Southcoat.

“Last year we had to reinvent ourselves as a result of the Rocking Horse Shop being sold and the land we formerly used not being available,” says Lyn.

“On top of that, the pandemic had forced us to cancel two years, and we were wondering whether to call it a day after 20-plus years. But we decided to have another go, so we went back to our roots: a more arts and crafts-based festival rather than the ‘village fete’ that Fangfest was becoming.”

The revamp was successful, says Lyn. “Everyone who was exhibiting had to demonstrate or talk about their work. Stalls were arranged down the long garden at Shirley and Tony’s (the founder of the Rocking Horse Shop) and around the village green. We had the classic cars in the middle of the green and had stalls in the churchyard too,” she explains.

Forest Craft and Play at Fangfest

“We had a scarecrow trail and put a marquee out in the pottery garden for the free children’s pottery activities. The layout and revamp worked well, so we’re doing a similar thing this year.”

Lyn and Gerry are as keen as ever to encourage participation in the arts and crafts, especially by children. “One of our first aims was to increase awareness of the arts, so this year we’ve asked Forest Craft and Play to come,” says Lyn. “They’ll be running drop-in craft activities for a small charge, while ‘Have a go on the wheel’ and ‘Paint a pot’ will be free.”

What else? “We’ve arranged for some acoustic musicians to come along and play to add some atmosphere to the event,” says Lyn. “St Martin’s Church is holding a flower festival over the weekend with the theme of Our Queen to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.

“The church will be running a slide show on the events we had in the village in 2002 to mark The Queen’s 50th jubilee. A bit of nostalgia! We’ve still got the classic cars, scarecrow trail and archery too.”

Entry to this outdoor event is free.

Young artists sought for Pocklington Arts Centre’s competition to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Deadline day is April 26

CALLING young artists. Pocklington Arts Centre is launching an art competition to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

Children aged five to 18 are invited to create a piece of artwork inspired by The Queen’s 70 years on the throne.

Entrants could win a top prize of £200 for their school or organisation, and further prizes of £50, £25, and £10 will go to the three pupils whose works are judged to be in the top three. 

The competition is being run in association with All Saints’ Church, in The Pavement, Pocklington, where selected images from the competition will be displayed on the railings in an outdoor exhibition from May 23 to June 18. 

Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer says: “The Platinum Jubilee is a special moment in our history, so we wanted to present an exhibition that reflects this. 

“After we previously held two hugely successful outdoor exhibitions at All Saints’ Church during lockdown, we can’t wait to see these new artworks marking such a momentous occasion, created by young talent, on display.”

The prize money has been made possible thanks to the Friends of Pocklington Arts Centre, whose chair, Janet Brader, says: “We love being able to encourage children and young people to engage in the arts, something that we do through subsidising the venue’s family theatre programme, so we are delighted to be able to support this wonderful competition.”

Young artists should submit their 2D art as an A4 or A3 image or a Jpeg, excluding photography, to Pocklington Arts Centre, in Market Place, or by emailing by Tuesday, April 26.

Please include your name, age, telephone number, email address and name of your school or organisation.