Lymington Artisan Festival - visitor report

“Lymington Artisan Festival” - impressions of a young London visitor 

The final day of 2018 Lymington Arts Festival and Artisans by the River in Lymington

Thanks to Jess King, journalist and blogger for a number of London financial publications, on a weekend in the New Forest and a day visit to Lymington on Sun 8 July. lymington artisan festival - the bandstand

She has a way with words. There is some mingling and mixing of the two events which is kind of logical, and locals will get the big picture!

Jess King's Story

“On a recent visit to Lymington I was treated to a tour of the Lymington Artisan Festival, which showcased the finest the county had to offer in arts and crafts.

We kicked off in an alleyway listening to a balding man in glasses sing some smooth jazz and country numbers, which were received in rapturous silence by the audience who were mostly in their fifties. I’m sure his BRIT award will not be long in the awarding, but for the time being he moonlights as one of the owners of the local bike repair shop. There were some lovely oil paints showcased portraying natural and nautical themes.

The main section of the festival was located down by the harbour, a ten-minute stroll along the sea front. A bandstand kept the celebratory mood flowing with a steady stream of popular covers, and all donations were to the Scout troop, which is diversifying into a number of income streams also including vegan baking and card designs, to fund their trip to the worldwide Scout jamboree in West Virginia, USA.

In actual fact, the cards were designed by a talented young female artist and licensed on behalf of her brother’s Scout jamboree trip. She had agreed to help fundraise on his behalf, though was persuaded to accept a percentage ‘service charge’. We were disappointed to hear that she did not intend to pursue a career as an artist, as her real dream was to set up as a dairy farmer.

lymington artisan festival i pad stand being demonstratedThe other stalls, though, were replete with mature artistic and artisan creations, from local businesses which had a week’s worth of footfall from festival visitors. I was struck by the breadth of quality wares and creative ideas – for example, canvas i-pad ‘stands’, which looked at first glance like triangular cushions (or doggie bean bags?...) but whose purpose became obvious after it was explained to us. It sits easily in your lap and gives you peace both of body and mind.

The vendor said the idea was born after he was complaining about his i-pad stand, which did not allow for repositioning or tilting the screen and gave him a ‘crick in the neck’. Watching him struggle one evening, his wife said “I’ll make you something if you like,” and two years later they have a mature business venture with a number of other products.

Other stalls showcased fabric holders for cutlery sets and coin purses, doggie ice cream treats and one stall selling textiles had a line in ‘attitude’ slogan badges for teenage rucksacks. There was also some beautiful handmade silver jewellery. One stall had a display of necklaces made from the clay moulds of natural elements – leaves, shells, and acorns which were beautifully rendered and my personal favourites. Each one is individually made from real-life natural treasures.

The bravest idea by far was the ceramic duck stall Quackers, which aimed to make quirkily patterned ceramic ducks the next must-have trend in interior design. Watch this space…. “

lymington artisan festival - seawater baths for a cool down


Editor note: The excellent MOR rock by various bands from the Bandstand was a delightful accompaniment to a bite of lunch provided by Rachel’s mobile cafe, and a visit to the seawater baths on such a hot day was a revelation – even though there was no space to sit and barely enough to walk past the sunbathing throngs there was plenty of room in the “swimming” area for a few refreshing and relaxing lengths (widths really) because most people in the enormous pool were queuing for the inflatables.

We are SO lucky to have “Lymington Lido” all summer long!



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