A storage room for feasts and festivities has been transformed into a classroom in a project which will ensure that the practice of traditional crafts is passed on through generations and does not die. The project was led by St. Andrew’s Musical Society of Luqa, culminating in the publication of a book that explains, in simple language, the work related to the setting up of feasts and street “dressing” and decorating.
Luqa Parish Church was surrounded by statues, banners and festive decorations, despite the fact that the feast was celebrated differently to usual. Some of the decorations were restored in recent months, by young people who have taken part in a learning program on festa-related decorating.
Anton Fenech is responsible for setting up the festivities at the St. Andrew’s Musical Society’s store in Luqa. He explained that part of the work carried out related to gilding. “I was giving the first coat of paint on the sculpture to refresh it and make it look like gold. That’s part of the art of gilding.”
In recent months Anton Fenech was one of several artists who has shared his knowledge with young people working at the store.
Mr Fenech said that young people had learned how to make marble and shading on pavilions and banners among other techniques. “You always have time to learn and gain some experience. But in the end the techniques used in marble and gilding can be learned by anyone.”
The interest went further, because with the help of funds from the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector, a book was published that explains the process of street decorating one step at a time.
The President of the St. Andrew’s Musical Society, Charles Attard, said that this project could open up opportunities for young people to get their hands dirty and learn about these trades. “The purpose was for young people to learn the trade so that in future they will also be able to practice and keep the tradition alive.”
Mr. Attard described the stores as art and craft centres and mentioned how several volunteers had developed a career in various fields. He said that through the project, the decorations that were made before the second world war and set aside would be given a new lease of life and would be preserved and continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.