Words Oliver Lowenstein
Imagine a small town heaving with a diverse, motley and idiosyncratic crew of makers and crafts people. Imagine a town, which is proud of its independent, awkward squad reputation. And imagine a town, which celebrates this independent streak with the biggest Guy Fawkes firework party in the country.
This is Lewes, down in Sussex, or at least one version of the town. Where one of the world's leading plastic figure makers - beautiful sculpting at a scale smaller than your fingers - declared to the local events mag that he loved Lewes because it makes "eccentrics feel welcome."
Over the last eighteen months the town's quirky and straighter sides have been presented with regular architectural events, under the title MakingLewes. And in mid-September ML is hosting the second Make Lewes Festival of Making, Architecture and Sustainable Design, marrying this local culture of design and making to the wilder shores of the music festival building and making scene and the leading edges of sustainable architecture, as a kind of a 'bridge building' experiment, and just to see what happens.
After last years inaugural MLF, where the likes of Sarah Wigglesworth, Jeremy Till, Danish solar century geodesics supremo Kristoffer Tejlgaard and Bioregional's Pooran Desai all participated, this year looks to be just as brilliant and twice as nice.
Assemble, local architectural hero, the Wastehouse's Duncan Baker Brown, Cany Ash, Norway's Rake, and Jon Minchin, who got the first ever Green Fab Lab up and running in the hills above Barcelona, are all set to speak, as are many others.
There's a real spotlight, however, on the Lewes makers themselves, who are involved in all sorts of ways. Collaborative Collisions, one of this years festival events tosses several different sorts of makers into the mix, before standing back to see what kind improvised 'something' emerges over the course of the opening weekend. Whatever the results Lewesian's can rest easy in their beds, knowing that the town's quirky and adventurous spirit is alive and well.
The Make Lewes Festival is on from 12 - 20th September 2015. For more information see: http://makinglewes.org