We hadn’t intended to go to Alnmouth, but got stuck there very unwillingly (never made it to Alnwick). That was how we ended up in Alnmouth Arts Festival on Saturday 21 June.
The road from the train station to Alnmouth Village was busy. The Village itself was buzzing with people. An old lady told us that there was an Arts Festival going on. Then my brain started to register the meaning of the letters on big signs. And we started to see old ladies standing in little hand-painted booths along the main streets selling Alnmouth Arts Festival booklets.
There was a hand-drawn map of the village in the booklet, giving directions to about 85 exhibitors from North East of England at 25 different venues. The booklet has a “homemade” feel to it, with a huge amount of information: introduction to all the exhibitors, programmes of the weekend, things you can try with your hands (I’m so annoyed I missed the pottery workshop!), information on shuttle bus and places to get cash. Amazingly well-organised!
Following the map, it was like a little adventure, going down narrow streets, stepping in tiny chapel and entering local people’s kitchens and gardens.
There were a church with craft work and comments by local school children, sculpture artists showing their work in their own kitchens, charcoal painters offering tea and cakes as well as selling nude paintings in their huge gardens, photographers selling cards with people queuing all the way around the building, craft groups of a combination of handspinning, weaving, lace making, natural plant dying and lots more. At the end of the day, there was a live performance and a BBQ on the beach among all the colourful boats.
Despite of the fact that I’m kind of a photographer myself and it was probably not appropriate to ask (business secret?), I still couldn’t help saying, wow, how did you do that? Especially his “Moving Pictures” as it is called on his website. Perfect on any walls. His products on sale that day fit perfectly with the target audience as well: the queue to get in was all the way around the corner!
When I saw Eve Studd and her Cornhill Crafts at one end of the room, the whole area was covered in beautiful coloured wool. There were a few huge baskets of wool fleece in the most amazing colours. I couldn’t believe they were dyed with natural plants from her garden. There were also a few peg loom weaved wall hangings made of the natural plant dyed wool fleece. I just can imagine the small turquoise creamish coloured one hanging above my bedside table! I didn’t buy it, but I still want one! I think plant dyed wool fleece and a peg loom are a perfect match. The great thing is Eve runs all sorts of workshops. I’m so tempted but it’s really a bit far away from me. Here’s her website for pictures and more information.
It was a shame we couldn’t go to Alnwick. But I enjoyed Alnmouth Arts Festival very much. The only suggestion we had was that maybe they could close the main street for cars, and have all the cafe shops and restaurants serving food in the street. Make it like a street party. It was already like a party!
Here are just a few more photos we took on the beach to show you how beautiful Alnmouth is :)
Alnmouth is on the train line between Edinburgh and Newcastle (York, London etc). It’s one of the most scenic train lines in the country. I strongly recommend you to check the timetable in advance. Alnmouth is a small station. The train is not very frequent because fast trains do not stop here. There were bikes for hire on the Alnmouth train station platform. Maybe we could go to Alnwick by bike next time (only 3 miles away)?
Next year’s Arts Festival will be on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June 2015. Here is Alnmouth Arts Festival’s website if you’re interested. I think I have become a fan.