Mardi Gras in Preston!!!

Come and join in the fun on Saturday February 22nd to celebrate Mardi Gras with a parade through Preston city centre, down to Avenham Park. Led by Worldwise Samba Drummers, the parade is open to anyone to join in and wearing of costumes is encouraged. Musicians, dancers and performers – you are all invited to just come along and join in the fun. On arrival at the Pavilion in Avenham there will be further performances before pancakes are served.

Mardi Gras, literally meaning Fat Tuesday, marks the day before Lent when tradition in many countries and religions is to eat as much as possible before fasting begins. In Britain and many Commonwealth countries that became Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, the day before Ash Wednesday. Elsewhere, the day became more celebratory and carnival-like, so in the Deep South of Louisiana in the US for example, thousands take to the streets in parades led by jazz bands from all across the state, ending up in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Whilst Shrove Tuesday is actually on Tuesday 25th, it was felt that in Preston a Saturday was more practical for a parade as families would be free/able to take part and whilst not on the same scale perhaps, this is our opportunity in Preston to celebrate and just have fun.

The parade starts at 11am Saturday 22nd February from the Mobility Centre Car Park. Meet there or join at any point along the route up Cheapside, along Fishergate, in Winckley Square or in Avenham Park.

Costume-making workshop – run by Preston City Council and led by our Evelyn, is free to go along to at the Pavilion in Avenham Park on Saturday 8th Feb 10am-1pm. Everyone and all ages welcome. Take any old clothes or fabrics along and make a fantastic costume to wear in the Mardi Gras parade.

Harris Christmas Fair

Oxheys in the Community Gallery
at the Harris Museum

This last weekend, Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December 2019 saw the Harris Christmas Fair at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery in Preston. It was a lively event, which saw the Harris packed full of artists, makers and traders with a wide variety of stalls offering all kinds of products making ideal Christmas gifts.

Oxheys was there of course, on the first floor in the Community Gallery. Four of our member artists, Caroline Finnegan, Evelyn Rose, Bernie Velvick and Denise Swanson provided the items and took it in turns to man the stall. We had pretty little table and tree decorations from Bernie, beautifully hand-made crocheted scarves with hand-dyed wool from Caroline, delightful hand-made reindeer greeting cards from Evelyn and a selection of photographic prints and greeting cards from Denise taken in local nature spots. It was a busy couple of days in which we saw a lot of people including many old friends from our days at t’mill, making a lovely opportunity to catch up.

We had a steady stream of visitors and sales throughout the event, although Saturday seemed to be the busiest day – most popular were probably the Diversity Elves from Bernie, all of which were sold, bar one. Caroline’s Nail Binding kits also proved very popular as did Denise’s small prints.

Huge thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello or to buy something. We do appreciate your support, as always.

Dyeversity at Mela

Oxheys were at Preston Mela on Saturday July 6th 2019, with a stall demonstrating how wool from locally bred sheep had been hand-dyed using locally found wild plants to create a beautifully diverse range of natural, organic coloured yarns suitable for weaving or knitting.

Specially designed frames, produced on a 3D printer, were made available for visitors to select a yarn and then start weaving a square. The squares will then be combined to create a large artwork that will hopefully appear in the Harris Open exhibition later in the year.

Visitors were fascinated by the process of both dyeing and weaving and over one hundred squares were added to the artwork during the few hours that Preston Mela was on. Our Caroline and Evelyn were literally rushed off their feet coping with the interest being shown as visitors were fascinated by the process, as well as by the end results. Many, who initially declined joining in, suddenly found themselves putting down their bags, picking up a frame and starting to weave a square.

We were also pleased to assure those who asked that no sheep were harmed during the process as only their wool was used and in the summer heat, the sheep were probably quite pleased to be relieved of it!

This was Dyeversity in action – it was a multi-generational, multi-gender activity that everyone who took part enjoyed!

The sharp-eyed amongst you may recognise the backdrop in the photos – it was the hand-woven fishing net, made by Caroline, that recently appeared as the Ghost Net in Making A Mark with Preston Youth Theatre.