Orkney is gearing up to host its first ever large-scale crafts festival this month, with a bumper programme of events scheduled to take place during the three-day community event.

Laldie Haans, as the festival has been named, will bring together a diverse range of professional craftspeople and artisans from throughout Scotland, with a host of workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions planned across Orkney.

Hands-on participation is the main theme of the event, with festival organisers encouraging anyone who’d like to try out a variety of crafts to come along and take part.

Everything from textile work, jewellery and ceramics, to drystone dyking, pinhole photography and miniature locomotive modelling is covered in the extensive festival programme, which offers an accessible mix of paid for and free activities.

The main venue for the festival – which runs between 29 April and 1 May – is the Standing Stones Hotel in Stenness, but workshops and other elements are taking place throughout the islands.

Festival director, Elaine Henderson, said: “Orkney supports an incredibly diverse mix of talented craftspeople. As such, we felt it made perfect sense to try and organise an event that celebrated and showcased this diversity and talent, while also creating opportunities for people to get practical experience of a number of different crafts. From the outset, we wanted the festival to be a community event and hopefully we’ve achieved that with this exciting and interactive programme that has something for everyone.”

She added: “The support we’ve received from not just the crafts industry, but the wider Orkney community, has been tremendous and we’re hopeful the festival will become a regular fixture in our busy islands events calendar.”

Edgar Balfour, development manager for Orkney food, drink and crafts, said: “Crafts are now a vital element of the Orkney economy, with our local industry enjoying a worldwide reputation for outstanding quality. Our crafts producers regularly attend trade and retail fair events on the mainland and many also do business internationally, but this fantastic new festival is offering something very different – the opportunity for makers to meet and share their skills at a community level. The festival organisers should be congratulated for organising such an engaging event, one we’re sure will attract not just local people, but many visitors too.”

Full details of the festival are contained within the Laldie Haans programme, which is available in Orkney Crafts Association businesses throughout Orkney and online at http://www.orkneydesignercrafts.com. Copies of the programme are also being distributed to local libraries, ferry terminals, Kirkwall airport and tourist information offices.

ENDS

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