In the run up to our inaugural festival within the stunning parklands of Cirencester Park we caught up with Lady Bathurst, custodian of Cirencester Park and craft-lover to talk about our favourite subject... Crafts!
What inspired you to host a Living Crafts Festival on the grounds of the Bathurst Estate?
A Living Crafts Festival is totally in sync with the ethos of this historical estate, bringing together the natural sources to make beautiful things. We have always had an enormous respect for the hand-crafting of unique pieces and to bring them into the heart of the estate was an easy decision!
Tell us more about Cirencester Park where the festival will take place?
Cirencester Park was purchased in 1695 by Sir Benjamin Bathurst, and it was his son, The (first) Earl Bathurst who was responsible for the unique design of the rides and vistas across the park. In particular The Seven Rides and Popes Seat (dedicated to Alexander Pope, a close friend of Lord Bathurst), which sit within the area where the Festival will take place, as well as The Cirencester Park Polo Club, (the oldest club in the country). The Park itself is largely woodland and parkland, alongside the in-hand farming enterprise and the vast areas that are enjoyed by walkers from across the world.
Do you have a love for Craft personally?
Anything that is created from natural sources always has a great appeal. It is fascinating to watch the artists at work as they show off their amazing skills. To be able to transform a piece of non-descriptive wood into something beautiful, and useful, is a true gift and we are so looking forward to seeing the many craftsmen over the course of the weekend.
Are there any workshops or experiences that you would like to try out yourself?
Wood-turning would be huge fun to try. The craftsmen always make it look so easy, but we suspect it may not quite be the case for a beginner! Pottery too.
What will be the highlight of the show for you?
We are looking forward to everything and as it is the first time The Living Crafts Festival is taking place in this wonderful parkland, we hope the visitors, who have been through an incredibly difficult year, will enjoy it as much as we plan to!