The Big Skill Festival

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The Big Skill Festival

This month's Blog post is written by new Marketing Assistant, Jemima


A beautifully sleepy Saturday in Hay on Wye. It’s my day off work for the globe, and I was driving through town on my way to Co-op. Coming down the hill, I approached the globe thoughtlessly; I’d almost forgotten our program for the weekend was different to normal, so it came as a slight surprise when I caught my first glimpse of the banners and tents, music and craft-stalls filling the globes gardens! I could see children running through the tents with printed flags, grownups lounging on outdoor sofas, and barbeque smoke swirling up from the courtyard. I had to go and check it out! Parking my car, I made my way through the gates and joined the throng.

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The Big Skill is a not for profit community interest company set up to preserve rural skills, provide demonstrations & hands on rural crafts activities & training resources. Here in Hay on Wye we are lucky enough to enjoy a rural lifestyle borne from the land around us. From the hedges and stone walls we drive past, to the woven baskets we shop with; rural skills and crafts are an intrinsic part of our heritage and what makes life here so special! The Big Skill are committed to keeping alive these important connections to the natural world in an age of modern living and progressive technology. The vibrant festival they run allows people of all ages to engage in workshops, demonstrations and talks on a staggering variety of skills – basket weaving, textiles, clay modeling, felt craft, jewelry making and conservation to name just a few! 

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In the globe’s grounds I found myself strolling through summery scenes of gathered people, engaged in activities, browsing artwork, or lounging on the grass listening to live music. In one tent a gaggle of muddy-faced children smeared clay onto a life size sculpture of a dog. To the side another tent hosted a tea table where a chattering group poked felt into interesting shapes. Colorful fabrics spilled out onto the grass outside the next stall, where people lay leisurely stitching cushions.

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I stopped and enjoyed the guitar music in the centre of the garden, admiring the woven baskets in progress at the willow tent. A welcome surprise was the presence of charity stalls from Greenpeace and Help for Refugees. I felt suddenly stuck by the importance of events like this, not only for practical gains of passing on craft skills, but for the sense of community support and social enjoyment they inspire. 

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Inside the globes main gallery I found Elle and Emma working hard to fulfill the steady stream of tea and coffee orders, amidst a buzz of art tables and creative glamour. Outside our chef Hug was doing us proud yet again with a BBQ feast to satisfy all hungry festival goers.

This year is the first time the globe has had the pleasure of hosting this event, and we’ve absolutely loved being part of this incredible celebration of community, craft, and rural life!