It’s a break not the final cut

Gave notice to my subscribers that Up Your Street is taking a break.
It’s a break, not the final cut and I shall return.
Had a great meal at Butler’s Bakery last night with Ladies Who Jerky. Cheap as chips. Delicious food. But ain’t it just the case? You find somewhere good and then it closes down. We were told last night was the last night.
No point me promoting my art exhibition there as obviously the new tenants will have their own stuff to hang.
Onwards and upwards.

Bring Out Your Dead or A Bee In my Bonnet.

I thought it was a joke; the call out from WMG to crowdfund to get May Morris the credit she deserves because she was in the shadow of her famous dad, Bill.
Boo hoo.Was it hard having servants to draw your bath? She the needlework woman has her work all archived and ready to view if you can be asked to get to the Clothworkers’ Institute if it’s still there and WMG can arrange for you surely to see her makes on the V&A website.

There are women artists and printers galore who never had a shadow of a socialist father under which to work let alone off whom to feed. They are neither dead nor white nor sprung from businessmen’s loins. They have to figure out the ways up and over all by themselves, self-promote without appearing vain and I’ve only once seen a local artist call out for an unpaid intern to assist her because technicians cost money albeit the minimum wage.

We’ve just had International Women’s Day and many women artists were out there giving free workshops having sorted child-care and tax returns. They’re the ones who should get recognition in this day and age for their superb work. They need cash injection and to be recognised as women of colour often and women from working class backgrounds increasingly. The latest museum talk is about diversity whether race, gender, fat, thin, able-bodied, queer and then enticing users and let’s be updated, volunteers,into the stone buildings who reflect the make-up of our population. Keep rolling out needlewomen like May aka Mary Morris and propping up whatyermercallits to her undoubted talent and we’ll never change the status quo. She has her day stamped in the archives and only under her father’s shadow if you keep saying that. It’s up to us to not refer to her as someone’s daughter.

She, she kept her daddy’s name, didn’t she?

I see her as a women craftworker in her own right but a dead one who’s already celebrated.

Let’s give credit to Sba and Anna and Sylvestias and Sally and Anna B and foreign sculpturesses and printers whose names I am too lazy to pronounce but read about via Google. Let’s make a conscious decision to bring up the worth of other women artists rather than dropping cash into legacy laps.


Art in a bakery

Well, there’s art in a lift, art in caffs, art on the underground so today I went to see shyly if my three works of art looked presentable on the white walls next to a sixties’ cutie faded framed print at Butlers Bakery in downtown east London in rising-up Leytonstone. I was nicely surprised as I deposited to the proprietor my promotional posters for Art With Bees, a nod to [dis}tinct, an art project happening locally and in Jenny Hammond School. Who knew?

Happy days.
In the morning Hassan E Vawda allowed me to exhibit my textile interpretation of his Indian Cats. I checked cos you know what these artists are like. Recently someone was moaning that I’d painted and almost copied a photograph which he’d taken and for which he won a prize. I never knew. No-one told me. I put enough feelers out.
I’ll say it again; you know what these artists are like.

On Friday I’m doing a very informal launch of Art With Bees which means people drop by, look at three paintings whilst diners dine in a back room and hopefully patronise the bakery by joining in the pavement barbeque of jerk chicken or actually buy delicious home-baked bread or those flippin’ gorgeous Eccles Cakes. It’s all community. I never know: Perhaps some parents can check out my art having read an announcement of such-like in the school newsletter.

Meanwhile, on and on, the Festival of Creativity and Well-being is in full thrust with art in many guises, or not. My own exhibition celebrating older people and scheduled for one day only was cancelled and not by me but I’ve turned that slight on its head. It means I don’t have to sit all day in the venue on a boiling hot day and I am fasting too.

Art With Bees is on until the second week of July. I am lucky.

Clickety Click

They came from all corners of east London. Jan had her knitting out and her chuckles too and in came Glenys from Ilford. Sylvia sprouted in her glory from Stratford and three friends from different parts of Leyton presented thamselves. Radha flowed in from Leytonstone and we supped tea, munched biscuits and felt good settled in our old age and company ready for “Old Women Talking” at Hackney Museum for Anti-University 2017.
It was an unstructured, unrehearsed event and after a little interview with Emma Winch we got our mouths and fingers busy. We naturally fell into conversation and were a team together sporting crochet brooches and sticking bits of material onto a bigger fabric to make a wall-hanging to leave in our wake just to show we were there and did what we said we’d do and that we were seniors including ourselves in the wave of events weird and wonderful around Hackney this week.
We particularly enjoyed Radha’s puberty stories from Mauritius and her longing for the genteelness of Bath. Paddy Pat entertained us with stories of late night capers but all the merriment was after a great discussion about the way seniors are targeted by scammers and how loneliness affects every generation. Sylvia had attended the Alzheimer’s Show in Olympia yesterday so was freshly pressed as an alert older woman. We were a busy bunch, writing our names, passing around flapjack, peeling satsumas, dipping into the glue, getting to know each other. When we go out to museums and art galleries, work shops and performances. installations and singing, pottery, drama, and all the rest we rarely sit and talk. Our average age was seventy. Yesterday some of us went to a Chinese Restaurant so were sharing reviews and laughing about how we time household chores because someone has to do them.
Why weren’t there any men? Well, we hardly know the men that do join in Up Your Street and also one of the aims of today was to squash any stereotypes about the interests of older women (who sometimes allow guys to dominate conversations). It was hard enough getting a panel as it was. People aren’t that ofay with the principles let alone the history of Anti-Uni. And we needed to trust each other which meant we’d shared spaces together before and managed and tolerated, even enjoyed that.
The high of my day was spoilt when in Roma Traveller Month, a ten year old Roma boy from Roma Corner was ready to punch me after he misunderstood something I said. It was such a playful remark I made, not one bit offensive but he stood in an aggressive stance. My worry was getting across my little something I said in a way he’d understand. In a grasped timely moment, I smiled and turned on my heel. Wouldn’t mind but I’m the only one up this road who even acknowledges the blighter’s parents by saying hello when I pass. Do the travellers and Roma know it’s their month. Does the Pope know it’s Ramadan?
After the day, I’m listening to and watching Chuck Berry and then I hope on some channel somewhere wotsisname is on talking with intelligence not heard in theses parts for a long time; Owen Jones.

This one’s all about the hands.

Here is an obvious case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand even looks like. It’s that bad.
For over two months since March I’d been asking then badgering one Hackney library for exhibition space for either one day or fifteen days for my art to coincide with Anti University and with the London Festival of Creativity and Well-being. Two months of unanswered emails except for one which was vague and promised a follow up one after a Bank Holiday but nothing happened. Finally last Saturday I was given the green light by a phone call I returned even though I had been expected, said the deputy manager, two days earlier but I am not psychic so never knew.
In the heat before the storm I flung my installation but carefully into my bubble-wraps, walked like a teenager to the bus-stop and fixed up my work in no time at all, Remember I’d been prepared for over two months. The next Monday I went back to the library to tidy up my rushed job and to add the last creations.

At 5.30pm today, on the third day of my display,I had the longest email you’ve ever seen from the library manager starting off with an apology for the lack of communication. I settled into a peace of mind and read on. The second paragraph explained how when he’d discussed my exhibition with him….hold on now. The man never stood still ever to speak with me. And the final episode was a request that I come and remove my exhibition because another outfit wanted the cabinets or if not the staff would take down my work and store it somewhere.

Angry? You’ve never seen the like. What could I do? My hands were tied. An official complaint would be wasted energy and more lies would be invented. I had done everything politely and without complaint. I threw on my angry red winter coat, dragged out my two trollies and watched the clock on the bus. Even the tramp asking me for money was cheerier than me.

I retrieved my exhibition pieces and saw no staff running towards me perhaps to arrange a taxi home for me or a refund for all my promotional postcards and wotnot.

My anger turned to sadness and now I wait for a small time to pass so that I will be over the whole caboodle and say loudly con brio “Well, I wash my hands of it all”. A couple of paracetamol will help.

Eels, bees, dinners and nibbles.

Issue 18. Up Your Street.

Shared by Folu

“I just wanted to tell you about Gascoyne 1 Community centre, Gascoyne Road, E9. Activities for people over 50. 50p entrance fee. 3-4 pm exercise, refreshments then bingo follows. Starts at 3-6pm

It is run by Hackney marsh partnership.” Thanks, Folu.

Sun 11th June Barking Folk Festival.

Tues 13th June £1 10-1pm . The Mill E17. Hilary’s Tuesday’s Sociable Sewing. Hilary getting us ready for “Fabrications” fabric exhibition at the Mill in July!

Drop in but here is the message to regular attenders:-

“On 13th June, bring a list of all the projects you would like included, with sizes for the larger pieces.

(If you are not able to come, just email them to me).

A group decision on how many of those pieces we can select from each person.”

All will be fabulously soft.

Wed 14th June £2. 2.30pm Rio Cinema Dalston “Hidden Figures” Thanks to BN for sharing.

Thurs 15th June free 4pm “Heroes art exhibition” launch at Claremont, in the Angel,Islington. Nibbles and chat, art and company. Hibo Wardere is on the wall as ‘heroine’ along with all those mums now aged 90 who scraped pennies and rations to provide for their families. We salute them.

Fri 16th June free 5.30-7pm at the Noted Eel and Pie House 481A Leytonstone High Road. E11

Life of the eel. Part of [dis]tinct events for the community. Free dinner for first 40 attenders.


free to view. 7pm Very informal launch of “Art With Bees” exhibition at Butler’s Bakery Cann Hall Road E11 Whilst there, have some jerk chicken and salad or a rum punch, all reasonably-priced.

Average £6.50. “Ladies Who Jerky”.6pm. A group from Up Your Street dining out and why not?

Sat 17th June free 12-6pm Studio 3 Arts in Boundary Road, Barking. Open art day as a summer festival with fun events.
Exhibition to view too.

Sun 18th June free. Various workshops given by seniors . Venues around Shoreditch area.. Programme at Royal Voluntary Service.

Issue 17. Up Your Street.

Thurs 8th June free 11.30 Up Your Street Community Group off to the Victoria and Albert Museum for Balenciaga. Fully booked.

Fri 9th June £10. 11-1.30pm.SPECIAL for Up Your Street a tour and two hour ceramics workshop at Turning Earth in Staffa Road area in Argall Industrial Estate. Light Haus café open too. Some availability. Pay on the day. Book by emailing me at

1-3pm a nice cafeteria style dinner up at Hoo Hing in Staffa Road. Cheap as chips Chinese fare. Let me know if you want to join other seniors so we know how many tables need to be prepared. Lift access. W19 bus with a walk or any bus down Lea Bridge Road then a walk up Burwell Road.

Sat 10th June free 2-5pm Beautiful Hackney Museum

Come and see some Up Your Street subscribers taking part in a accidental theatre as they sit down and chat without a script or a rehearsal and see what unfolds.

From Bow Arts .free

“The Precinct, Royal Foundation of St Katharine, 2 Butcher Row, London E14 8DS

On Saturday 10th June this year St Katherine’s Artspace Artists will be opening up their studios for you to see! Alongside Open Studios will be Market Stalls for you to take away a piece of affordable art and the Yurt Cafe will be open as usual.

Based next door to Limehouse DLR station, St Katherine’s Precinct is an ‘extraordinary oasis’. ”

Mon 12th June free Claremont members off to the V&A.

Tues 13th June £2. 3-5pm.Claremont in White Lion Street by Angel Station. Become a member for free by going to the office then join in our Hilary’s felt brooch making class.

Thurs 15th June free. 9-7pm.Hackney Central Library to see Gillian Lawrence’s marking of “Later Years” at London’s Festival of Creativity and Wellbeing with an installation representing “Old Women Talking”. Credit to Sue’s plastic crochet bags.

free Some community leaders who subscribe to Up Your Street are off to the British Museum for a guided tour as part of the Festival of Creativity and Wellbeing.

free 11.30. Stratford Circus, E15 Sing along with a seniors’ singing group, the Agewell Singers. Brilliant.

Three days, three exhibitions.

That was the week that was.
Oof, having a sit down after a soaking. Bedraggled I was in the torrents and the bus left me cold, standing but clutching onto my massive canvases for the three-bus journey to their destination.
There’s a fabulous art and science project going on in the Cann Hall district of Leytonstone called [dis]tinct (I’m still working out the title…it’ll come). It’s all to do with migrations of peoples into the area and what they brought in and what they shared. Butler’s Bakery, a long-established community spot makes honey buns using locally sourced honey from honey-bees, of course. My focus is on the pie and mash coming up in the month and tales of the Sargasso Sea, (spelling).
I have in exhibition at Butler’s some paintings, some big paintings to adorn the white blank walls. I am the first exhibiting artist there in a world where every latte-boiling establishment rents out wall space for local artists to get loved and famous. Community art is a great thing especially as it gives opportunities for spectators to see art when they might not be asked to get into the massive impersonal galleries.
My displayed paintings are from my series “Headscarves 1950s” from my research project of the same name. There is much colour and rhythmic patterns because I reference the 1950 scarf designs. It was important that I link into the
[dis]tinct E11
experience and so I took time to cover my pink “Nude in a Headscarf” by dressing her in an opaque light shift full of bees. It works. Vera Lawrence (no relation) of Clapton also got a makeover and I took great pleasure in patterning the heads around her. The other picture is “Fish and Headscarves” , a painting honouring post WW2 rationed housewives and the once common fishmonger. Lots of fishy shapes but no bees.