Up on You tube enjoying some proper soul music in the warm waiting for a Sunday telly drama.

I’ve been desk-top researching all through damn Covid the women and wives of Transatlantic slavers for they were accessories to the crimes, were molls, bedfellows and benefited greatly from the wealth.

Today at RAGWORKS I created

Mary Ann MacCormac

of Northern Irish and African-American descent who married Walter of the Guinea Company who himself was documented in Parliamentary papers as being involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. She lived and bred from 1830-1865 and often travelled from Sierra Leone with her two brothers to Belfast to her rich uncle.

I chose her because I had researched the movers and shakers in C18th “Freedom Land” and I have a close connection to a descendant of a revered family.

Mary Ann was the second wife of a man twenty two years her senior.

Just a girl.

Black History Month Waltham Forest.

Today with a group of septuagenarians I visited the Black History Month exhibition of thirteen A3 mounted photographs of UK based Black Artisans. Is that all there is?

It’s in Chingford Library E4 foyer having been at the prestigious in some’s eyes William Morris Gallery . The Chingford Library foyer is easily missable.

We chose to go to whitelands because after viewing ( a ten minute affair) we could go chomp cod n chips over the road for six quid. If you’re gonna celebrate BHM do it in style.

The photographs are wonderful. You need a good strong back to get down and read some captions. Nine of the subjects are men.

We learnt that Waltham Forest is funding the Black Artisans’ Project and that there’s a film and we hope it’s moving objects.

We chatted and referenced Alex at Iroko Theatre as stem for roots learning.

it’s a free touring exhibition.

Cod dinner is £6.

Born To Campaign

Just trawled the internet and found at WordPress Claire and Len Weiss’ 2014 edited biography of Manny Weiss and had already read about textile craftsperson and political activist Rita Weiss (1921-2011) from the Morning Star 2011.

I am a dedicated Women’s Heritage Champion and am aghast at my lack of knowledge about Rita Weiss: I know author and community activist, Claire Weiss. Claire sent me notice today about her hosting the launch of a book dedicated to Rita called “Born To Campaign”.

I learn on.

Community art yawn

I had my usual cynicism about how a borough blessed and financed art thingumygig down the road could be. Especialy since the email to join didn’t work and no reminder was sent out. A tweet was the heads up. I dressed for the sun then dashed out just as the rain went into half time Afterwards i wanted to go buy sprats in Forest Gate but the rain was too much and my back was cold with spiteful sky tears.

The art was good.

Amongst the eighteen women participants were a cleaner and a dinner- lady.

Finally some working class salt of the earth taking part.

Patchwork in Lockdowns.

Finished my last lockdown RAGWORKS quilt today; a double bed sized one full of religion for someone’s June birthday. I’m creaming my hand-sewing hands to rid my fingers of hard punctured skin and nurturing my skin renewal. Creating with textiles during isolation was uplifting what with all the colours and textures and cutting squares with big sharp scissors. I made a dozen quilts using refreshed donated cloth even school uniform tartan and London Ambulance gear with its badges. I doubled up thin leopard pattern scarves and threw away nothing of beauty.

In my wardrobe I have a soft baby quilt but because of Covid restrictions I can’t yet gift it to the new parents. Often I recycle my art wall-hangings by deconstructing the work to re-use the material especially since the lockdowns reduced my donations from locals.

I recently took part in three community stitching projects. The deadline came and true to form the facilitators dropped the participants as soon as the project was over. Talk about not sustaining conversations. Always happens but I still commit to doing community projects by Zoom these days because I’m alive and need to show it.

I have had a RAGWORKS exhibition up since the start of the first UK lockdown in March 2020. Noone sees it except pupils doing maths through PE in the school hall/ dining room. It’s called “People of Colour” and preceded the “Black Lives Matter” movement So relevant but so tucked away.

Onwards and upwards and maybe some street parties on June 21st.

EastBank Seniors

Today is the launch of EastBank Seniors as in the first walkabout and during Covid restrictions so only six septuagenarians were signed up. Noone had to confirm their going because anything can happen. All were reminded to mask up and stay apart.

it’s an open- air chum-along to West Ham Cemetery in Cemetery Road E7 and the place is beautiful right now with lush grass and Spring in leaf. There are trees for shelter, benches galore and sparklingly clean toilets. The adventurers are all armed with my desk-top research notes with a list of celebrated graves and a description of Gurney handing over wasteland so that the West Ham Burial Board could go ahead with burial plans.

Onwards and upwards. The outing repeats on the UN Day of Remembrance for victims of chemical warfare and in May at Eid.

Today we celebrate in a cemetery Earth Day and mark the racist-fired murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Tomorrow is Union Jack St George’s Day and our ninety-five year old widowed queen is in mourning. India is devastated.

Chaucer was right about April pushing us along.

Right here, right now.

Good to be here writing. Just watched The Chase having sewn tons today making a quilt and then serviettes for the Christmas table. Went to extra Yoga with Jessica Green which I’ve attended since before May and after March 23rd. Seems years away. Watched some PBS documentaries and did some eBay shopping.

Hackney Circle joined with MakeTown to offer its members free weaving sessions online at GoogleMeet not familiar Zoom. We received at socially distanced front doors our weaving kits for free. Two sessions and by the second one we were a group of three from maybe ten before: I hardly looked up as I wove. I know for a fact seniors could not access Google flipping Meet. Saw their names. Some from Up Your Street. But the weaving and needling was good. Another workshop is in the pipeline IF you fill out the evaluation form…… online. What might it be?

Leila Jancovich at Leeds Metro Uni has published her findings from community hub leaders and art architects about the pushed mantra that arts and crafts create senses of well-being amongst the clients. Responses to questionnaires about the value of arts in the community to both clients and managers are usually summed up in the word “brilliant” which is a word with scales or levels. The value of that word has to be scrutinised. Funding relies on words and examples. Brilliant cannot do it. For example I think it’s brilliant if we get free tuition and a free cuppa in a nice venue. That’s hardly an advert for art in the community and a case for arts funding. After Covid when arts money is all gone we’ll thrash out part two of Jancovich’s thesis.

Art-wise I produced an original for Rosetta’s secret postcard sale mid December and a bunting flag for feminist Craftivism post Covid and a mental health charity aligned witch spoon project in Hebden Bridge. I have two RAGWORKS exhibitions up since I can’t remember and to which no one has access. My Christmas decorations and tree are up and I’ve hidden sugary goodies. My doors are open and shut on my Ferrer advent calendar. Yummy.

Zoom time with Rachel Mulligan. Ely stained glass windows. Keeping up a pecker.🤣