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.