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We’ve taken the decision not to go ahead with our full-scale ‘Pumpkin Lantern Festival’ this year. It’s been a hard one for us all as we know how much this annual spectacle is loved by so many. Every year we too get immense joy from seeing hundreds of Hackney residents carving pumpkins together and the thousands of lanterns all lit up in the Garden. 

Our annual lantern festival kind of started by accident 11 years ago, when we carved 20 lanterns in a children’s half-term workshop. Every year after that the number of residents taking part and pumpkins carved grew and grew until in 2019 when over 1,400 pumpkins were carved by adults, young people and children and the lanterns were lit up in the Garden for 12 nights. 

Like many other small businesses and social enterprises, we’ve had an incredibly challenging year. This means that we are unable to dedicate the necessary hours of work, finances and energy that we know from experience is needed to create and safely manage a spectacle of the scale that makes our annual Pumpkin Lantern Festival so special. 

However, October at Dalston Curve Garden would just not be the same without some pumpkin lantern magic. So, as we did in 2020 and 2021, we are inviting adults, young people and children to carve a pumpkin at home for entry into our 2022 #dalstonpumpkins competition. 

All of the lantern competition entries will be displayed in our Rainbow House and in a few other nooks and crannies in the Garden for visitors to enjoy, from Wednesday 26 – Sunday 30 October. You’ll be able to visit the Garden in the evenings to see them all lit up. 

To enter the competition you just need to bring your carved pumpkin to the Garden from Tuesday 25 – Saturday 29 October, between 2-6pm. We will be posting more details about the competition next week.  

Sunday 9 October 2022, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm

Join artist and maker Kathryn Holt to learn the art of needle felting in a workshop inspired by the colours, leaves and senses of Autumn in the Garden. 

Enjoy the sensory process of playing with vibrant colour and soft texture to create a beautiful and unique mini artwork in pure wool. 

If you have never tried needle felting before, it is a technique that uses a special needle to turn wool fibres into felted material. By agitating the wool with the needle, the loose fibres bond together allowing you to create beautiful felted 2D or 3D objects or artworks. Participants in this workshop will make a small 2D needle felted piece to take home. 

There are three sessions in total, starting at 2, 3 & 4pm. We don’t take bookings, and places are limited. They are offered on a ‘first come first served’ basis for each session, so we recommend you come early to sign up, to avoid disappointment. These workshops are suitable for adults, young people and children aged 10+. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Kathryn Holt is an artist, maker and storyteller whose work is inspired by nature. She makes artworks in various media, including felt, ceramics and paper collage.

These workshops are part of our community programming this year exploring plants, nature and biodiversity throughout the seasons and are supported by Hackney Council’s ‘High Streets’ and ‘Hello Again Hackney’ funds. You can find out about the latter initiative which allows residents to take advantage of discounted tickets and invitations to cultural events at venues across Hackney at: www.lovehackney.uk/entertainment-offers