It was my first visit to Wakefield’s award winning Hepworth building and although I have a significant interest in all things print (working at far’n’beyond – a graphic design and printing company) it wasn’t me they had to impress!
The Hepworth Wakefield Print Fair was hosted in the ‘Calder’ the converted mill space at the Hepworth, with screen printing demonstrations inside the gorgeous museum building.
The screen printing and children activities were the primary attraction to the free family activity alongside our curiosity at the well known local attraction.
On arrival at The Hepworth, we were fortunate enough to be given a car park receipt which saved us a surprisingly expensive five pounds parking fee. Although this is common at many ‘free’ city centre locations – it wasn’t something we were expecting from reading the event literature.
Walking up to the Hepworth, it is easy to forget you are in Wakefield’s every improving city centre. The sunlight was bouncing off the river and the sharp aspect of the architecture contrasted against the frosty blue sky. The rustic print house feel of the authentic converted mill added further character to the island of art.
Initially, we were a little lost and after going up and down the lift a couple of times we saw several of the installations including a room filled with teapots from a 3D printer. This however, wasn’t engaging for Little M who was more interested in the program he had been handed on entry.
Returning to the ground floor, we soon discovered we should be in the Calder Mill and with good pram access wondered around the independent market stalls which covered a variety of fine art prints, posters, textiles, self-published books and various oddments.
After a couple of tours, we had a snack in the reasonably priced cafe before venturing back to the Hepworth where we enjoyed the highlight of our day. We had missed much of the craft activity arriving late in the day, but as the queue had reduced, we waited to produce our own screen print. Little M loved it, he enjoyed watching the people ahead of us produce their own posters, carefully preparing himself for his big moment! The staff here were great and helped up, whilst giving him enough independence to feel he was in control. He was clearly much younger than the target audience, but something he and I both enjoyed.
It was after this, the draw to the outdoor play area became too strong for us to ignore and Little M finished the afternoon playing on the park which sits between the Hepworth and the Calder before heading home clutching our poster with both hands.
Enjoyable - But not designed for Toddlers
It’s difficult to rate activities which aren’t targetted at toddlers and the comments are all made with the understanding that this was never advertised as the perfect day out for a 20 month-year-old.
With that in mind, it is a good afternoon activity, which is well organised with plenty of things to look at and point at – but failing all of that, there is a park and a craft area to keep minds engaged.
The (understandable) need to charge for parking is unfortunately what takes this from a free pop-in-and-look time filler to a fair which requires consideration before attendance.