French Artist installing sky high tower for Festival of Thrift

glasto tower with artistINTERNATIONALLY renowned French artist Olivier Grossetête will be helping this year’s award-winning Festival of Thrift reach new heights next month as he creates a five-storey cardboard structure inspired by a Darlington landmark to celebrate the 190th anniversary of the world’s first passenger steam railway.

Olivier Grossetête along with 120 helpers will launch the UK’s national celebration of sustainable living as they build The People’s Tower, inspired by the railway station clock tower in Darlington Town Centre’s Market Square as part of an opening celebration hosted by Festival of Thrift in partnership with Darlington Borough Council and Creative Darlington.

The tower’s bricks will be made entirely from cardboard boxes constructed within St Cuthbert’s Church from Monday 21 to Thursday 24 September 2015 by the artist and a team of workshop participants. The five-storey structure will then be erected from 10am on Friday 25 September 2015, with the completed People’s Tower due to be launched at 5pm.

This year’s Festival of Thrift forms part of a weekend of celebrations for Darlington and the region as the town marks the 190th anniversary of the world’s first passenger steam train, which travelled between Stockton and Darlington in 1825.

The festivities will then move to the Festival’s founding host site at Lingfield Point in Darlington, a unique business park, on Saturday 26 September 2015 for a weekend filled with free frugal fun.

Festival Director, Stella Hall, said: “As part of the 2015 Festival we’re excited to be linking in with the 1825 celebrations which coincides with the Festival of Thrift 2015 weekend.

“It is an honour to have such an internationally renowned artist as Olivier Grossetête launching our celebrations. He has been all around the world and even rebuilt the Pont d’Avignon in cardboard and now he will work with building students from Darlington College and other willing helpers to celebrate our landmark. Anyone interested in getting involved with the Festival’s opening celebration should visit the Festival website to register.”

Festival of Thrift, which received the Arts and Culture award at the Observer Ethical Awards 2015, aims to show people how reusing, recycling and upcycling can be fun, save money and benefit the environment at the same time.

This year’s Festival programme will feature leading and emerging artists from across the globe, demonstrations, stalls and workshops to offer thrifty advice, tips and tricks and much more to festival-goers.

Festival co-founder Wayne Hemingway added: “We’ve developed a fantastic programme for this year’s Festival that is bursting at the seams with entertainment and amazing artists including Olivier Grossetête.

“Thrift is more than a trend – it’s here to stay, it’s a culture and a set of values to live by. The Festival is certainly helping to get it engrained into the lives of people across the North East of England and beyond. Our thrifters are a community and the Festival is a great opportunity for them to get together and share what they do, and the visitors to the event are certainly loving meeting the artists, entertainers, makers and upcyclers and seeing the fruit of their loins.”

To be part of this landmark build register for the Olivier Grossetête – The People’s Tower workshop.


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