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Traditional signwriting festival to be held by Maidenhead-based steam fair

A festival celebrating the traditional art of signwriting is being held by a Maidenhead-based steam fair.

Carters Steam Fair is holding an event in Pedestal Field in West Wycombe over the weekend to raise awareness of a trade that is under pressure thanks to changes in technology.

The festival will see 80 professional signwriters and hand-letterers from around the world gather and show off their work.

Visitors will get to see artists at work and learn new skills, as well as getting the chance to have a go on the fairground itself, which is entirely hand-painted, from the rides to the wagons and lorries.

Free activities will include hands-on creative lettering sessions, treasure trails around the fair, tours of the painting marquees and live demonstrations, including working with gold leaf.

Carter’s Steam Fair’s Joby Carter completed an apprenticeship in the art of signwriting when he was younger, and wants to keep the passion for the skill alive.

Joby said: “With so many children growing up with smartphones and tablets, I think it’s more important than ever to showcase and share these traditional skills.

“I’m always happiest when I have a brush in my hand and it would be an incredible loss if our children missed out on these opportunities.

“I was taught the original skills of painting with just a brush and a mahl.

“These skills are fast dying out, and I think it would be a crying shame if every signwriter relied on computers to work and were unable to do basic layouts freehand.”

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