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.🤣

Enthusiasm on day whatever of Lockdown

Got to share my enthusiasm: joined a Zoom and they chatted about calligraphy* and one woman showed us vellum** parchments she got off Ebay to help her with a previous calligraphy course she did. I thought I’d look at Ebay and bought a vellum advertised to show Stoke Newington history. Fiver.

Well…. I Googled the names. It was for 1910. It was Thomas A. De la rue of London, the grandson of Thomas de la Rue of Guernsey who invented the printing of bank notes, playing cards and postage stamps and on the document he was renting a shop in Stoke Newington High Street at no.199 right by Abney Park Cemetery and Yum Yum where Hyacinth loves to host her meet-ups.

Our Thomas A carried on his grandfather’s firm. His dad was very famous. Warren De la rue.
The firm is still the best government printers and worth millions. They could buy the vellum off me😂
He died in 1911.
Stoke Newington was developing from posh country Hackney to factory urbanity.

The woman who owned 199 Stoke Newington High Street in Hackney was Sarah Annie Pell, wife of Charles Pell both of Hastings. I had just scanned the document picking up a woman’s name and the words lessee and lessee and stupidly assumed the man was the lesser. The woman is described as the wife of Charles Pell just to remind us a man was in the picture or dead but still named. The woman was renting to a sixty year old rich guy. He died soon after.

199 Stokey is under builders’ wraps and scaffolds as revealed at Gooogle Maps.

Baronet Thomas A. De La Rue is often spelt Delarue as on my document so that threw me.

The history of that rich family is gripping. They are linked to sheep-stealing convict ancestors in Australia. Ain’t we all?

And then some. Old granddaddy De La Rue married a second wife after Jane Warren she being a young Swedish woman named Mary Eckers and that caused some grief in the stocks and shares.

I then went back to Ebay with Googly eyes and a spinning head and found by chance a postcard showing Crouch Hill North London my manor of yore. Turned it over virtually and it was addressed to someone De la Rue Guernsey. Witchy. Two quid and it’s on its way to me.

Loads of De La rue playing cards at Ebay. Some dirty old packets and some single queens selling for two pounds too.

Back again

It’s been months and I even forgot my password for this device. Been a busy ole Covid what with primary research, You Tube, Zooming, courses, reading on devices and with hardbacks and dear RAGWORKS creating and exhibiting where no one goes. Listening to BBC Radio 3 going over backwards with any African name for #BLM. Corrie for one hour tonight and Gogglebox.

An academic commended The Osier Project and Shanghati Literary Project accepted me onto their “Power of Folk-Tales” and I have a poem published in a University anthology up there with the big guns. Keeps me away from the bread rations.

And in other news there’s a nasty strain of Covid 19 getting into older people’s systems. Well, ’tis the season of the witch.