Issue 30 . Up Your Street. RAC days,

Thurs 6th Aug free 7-9pm #MAFF at Marcus Garvey Library, Tottenham N15. Launch of Maya Angelou Festival.  Book at Eventbrite.

Sat 8th Aug free and tomorrow. Rathbone Market Canning Town to watch an artist at work painting a mural.

Mon 10th Aug free 2-4pm Dilston Grove salad growing workshop for Seniors Art School attendees from Up Your Street

Wed 12th Aug free 10-noon. Banner-making at Hamara Ghar 412 Green St by Romford Road East. Drop-in

free 2-4pm Lavender workshop for Seniors Art School peeps at Dilston Grove.

free 2pm The Mill E17

Waltham Forest Commumity Radio Group

Thurs 13th Aug free 10-12.30pm Canning Town Library 10-12.30pm. Art with Hassan for beginners and old-timers.


Doin’ our thing at Dilston Grove

Dilston Grove’s Seniors Art School is heads above all the other art workshops I experience and experienced.

It’s in a gorgeous setting in a room overlooking trees, grass and park-users. It’s bang right next door to an huge tall unused church which is stripped of all its religiousness . It’s a cold inviting shell but today we had a chance to wonder at its history, its wooden pulpit and octagonal wooden vestibule rafters.

Because in this architectural favourite of the month is an exhibition of interventions called “Between Thought And Space”. Now a month ago, I read the blurb, the artspeke and my days of trying to guess at the meaning of joined up writing are away with my past degrees and patience. I hadn’t a clue about what the art could be and knew somehow I’d get in free and see it all for myself and use my own words to de-mystify it.

it is awesome as in horribly good. At the workshop with nine of us we were comfortable enough to say what the pieces of art meant to us truthfully. All the time some bells or something akin were sounding and a red light glowed in the pulpit. On the roof was a projected pattern copying a stained glass window. There was so much more and a realization that a remnant of religion was nurtured. And there were blocks of earth too all to do with the neighbourhood just as were three fibre glass bomb shapes.

Actually around the neighbourhood church buildings are rare but pubs are evident and recorded in archives on dedicated websites. I need to research more about WW11 bombing around Surrey Docks.

To me Dilston Grove’s concrete church as it is is ugly. Our practical talk was to choose an area in the room or the exhibition or the kitchen then get something made drawn or said that fits through our intervention into that space…in this time. We went into the task guns a-blazing.

Dilston Grove

Today was the first 2015 session of Seniors Art School at Dilston Grove, Southwark Park. Well, the daffs are showing off through the railings and, of course, it’s school Easter holidays so all the parents, buggies, scooters, toddlers , babies. kiddies and dogs were out splattering colour across manicured grass bits.

In a posh place by a concrete church was a group of older people all warmed up nicely with a cuppa and raring to revitalise the art in them. It’s free. It’s a workshop.

Two experienced artists in the community led us fourteen students (three from Up Your Street thanks to Bridget Virden) by encouraging us to feel and relate to works of art in the exhibition inspired by Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons”(1914) . This text is free to read online. Just Google her name.

Oh we had lots to say and it was all honest stuff for, let me tell you, we had not read the press release and the artspeke yet.

Time went swiftly but we were managed well. After a picnic lunch in the sunshine it was time to go into linear narratives, charcoal and fixatives, pencils and knee-jerk marks on kitchen paper to thrown-out words so we drew space and heaviness, tenderness and something else. We’d listened to the words of Stein but gathered no clue from them. We knew we were exploring the unexpected. No-one was judging anything.

A few of us thought we were being treated like primary school children but our age group is on the ear for that always and get over it before you can say Jack Kerouac.

One has to book for these workshops and the next session is for two days in May.

I love the journey down on the East London Line to Surrey Quays. Just love passing new Haggerston, new Hoxton and my beloved Wapping with its glinting river and boats. Surrey Quays has nothing except Southwark Park. Am I wrong?