Strengthening Communities through Art.

Those Candy Crush actors are a bit podgy, aren’t they? I was thinking about Veganism and thought about war-rationing. Just thinking.

And that was because I was concentrating on my art for The Mill E17 and how I had to think, well calculate dates, as I was stealing an identity for my project. And I had to even research WW1 dates. I did dress to go out to do another bit of physical research but hey, it’s very cold out. All this work is really in  the end, just for me, because another Mill artist said to me on the bus last Summer, “Only the artists see each other’s work at The Mill, so what’s the point?” Swing back to positive-ness for you can say that about any community art do. Keep on creating. I like Cass Art’s motto:-“Let’s fill this town with art”.

I bought ancient postcards off Mo’s Emporium at Ebay and found quite a few belonging to a family in Walthamstow from 1909. My laptop was hot. My imagination was wild. I do collect postcards anyway and have valuable ones hoarded away in a bank vault. I don’t actually believe postcards are going out of fashion just as fridge magnets aren’t. They are souvenirs whereas emails and snapchats are not yet. From a few words in squid ink on old postcards then I learnt about ye olde worlde fish ‘n’ chip shops in Markhouse Road, who did what in the early sixties, who built houses around railways in 1850 by Marsh Lane and beyond, who owned the land when the farm fields were cut up for development and how on Saturday 13th January 2018, a few local people will be up in arms protesting about building plans around Lea Bridge Station.

The Mill’s art exhibition is about memories. Up Your Street seniors have been on countless projects about their memories. We are reminiscence saturated. The thing is The Mill will turn up quirky art in all sorts of media.

My submissions are quasi quirky.

I made for my friend a scarf art using acrylic paint on unframed canvas spelling out all the words we could remember from domestic life in the fifties and before that having had an art-inspired evening at The Anti University Festival hosted and planned by myself, the artist, talking about headscarves and whatnot. Scarf Art was a thing in 1968 with top notch artists calling out for designs on silk for them to reproduce and make mega-bucks. Seniors at Up Your Street did the same in 2015 and had fun producing loveliness. They painted and printed on rag squares. So my metre squared scarf art goes on display then back to my friend’s wall.2017-12-12 10.03.32

Then add onto that a string of bunting with phrases used by parents and kids in playgrounds to keep order in a world where slaps and smacks were allowed and children pre the revolution were seen and not heard up until the day they brought in wages. Bunting was made from rags originally. At the Vestry Museum there’s a photo 1901 showing the laying of the foundation stone at Davies Lane Primary School and flapping in the breeze alongside the Union Jack are rags . At the Technical E10 there are on the ancient railings cloth triangles as bunting and hiding from the wind. At least they’re not plastic. Plastic is a bad word.

My third submission is the postcard based art work called “Of Kith And Kin”.2018-01-09 13.28.19

Note the old school, aka old skool, pen and ink heading and hand-written fonts. Wait ’til you get inside. But you have to get along to The Mill for that.

On Sunday, after Mass, a neighbour turned up with a whole bundle of unwanted posh Sanderson 1995 material from a mutual acquaintance, all from Up Your Street. The Earth gave up to me. I was able to re-do my Claire Weiss for RAGWORKS International Women’s Day 2018 with appropriate material and so pack away the special collection all about women until March.

My hands are going from mauve to pink now so I can get on with another creation, a quilt for a baby made from refreshed textiles. RAGWORKS style.

Creativity Revived

Yesterday Up Your Street was as it was six years ago with good company, an urgency to go, a desire to join in and do. The day ended on a warm drink and samosa high at St Mary’s Church in E17, standing on damp cold soil watching Hassan Vawda’s  projected installation onto an ancient Walthamstow church exterior wall with an accompanying soundscape. Hassan will tell you everything is a dream. With that in our brains we watched the film of his sister’s and his and I think too his dad’s journey to his grandparents’ house. The green trees were a green backcloth and there was a true connection to today as we explored a fifty year old boarded-up Indian house whilst the real church door was opened and shut. Something about dances and chances. I didn’t attempt to read the blurb in the  lantern dark and wanted my own feelings and reactions before I read the notes on Facebook and beyond.

I’ve been to many of Hassan’s art for all workshops and they are well-planned and truly for anyone regardless of previous immersion in any kind of art. Go read his poetry and be blown away.

A few years ago I lived on an island which has plenty of unopened abandoned houses. They do intrigue and house artefacts and memories of course. I reminisced slightly but held myself steady for the morning workshops at CreativiTEA in Hale End Library had been quite enough memory lane for the day. Amanda Whittle took we, a group of seniors , into collage and paint using objects and photos from the war and the fifties. War time. Who was there?

Another action-packed couple of hours was at Central Parade, obviously the Council’s flaghub for dem creatives.It was a free screen-printing workshop with Fungai . (See Nzinga at Facebook too).

Well, that was fun. Someone will be getting my tote bag full of ink splashes and another’s design for Christmas, someone on a remote island. My second attempt was far superior so I’ll bead it up for another. Otherwise it’ll be my spud bag. We were invited to make woolly pom poms  and tassels to pin onto our creations. Nah. I wanted to focus on perfection in one area. Up Your Street subscribers made up 80% of the participants.

It was buzzing at Central Parade with carol-singers and baking bread rising. Accompanied children joined in willy-nilly at the crafting and printing tables. There were units to explore called incubators (hmm) where members of a particular art group sell their wares until their residencies run out and in come other creatives.

Down the other end of the market stands motherly The Mill E17 which led the way for creativity in this borough and I support old friends especially with the print exhibition on the horizon.

Important aside:-Wonder what kind of contracts have the servers at Central Parade. Catering jobs are often those stinking zero-contract hours ones with pittances of pay. There was one table attendant who needed a lift as she was the picture of drudgery.


I am grateful for yesterday. Screen printing workshops are hard to afford. Fungai is a generous artist like Hassan. CreativiTEA is an excellent series of monthly workshops too.

Back to telly and mature throat-straining Dusty Springfield backed by Jools and Alison Moyet on YESTERDAY before Andrew Marr and his excitability.

Whitelands of Wanstead

Went early in the pouring rain to the Wanstead Art Trail.  Nothing changes, do it? One stop from dirty filthy Leyton and there’s Wanstead with village green stuff all about. I’ve never done the High Street before. Years and years ago when you were a twinkle in the sky I went there to interview a black playwright, the only black man in the countryside then. His name liveth on.

Anyway the Art Trail is just a sales fest. No chance to stand and stare as the works are in shops, mostly charity shops maybe, with early morning bargain-hunters getting in the way. Or the places weren’t yet open. Anna had her work displayed in sellophane. I know! Really it should have been or should be The Sally Asbury Trail. Her mosaic work is superb. I so want her mirror with lace but dental fees must be paid. It’s kinda hippy and spiritual but in the ways of humankind.

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Never did see Vawda’s work yet. It was getting busier and the rain was driving me nuts as I tried to hold onto my precious cargoes wrapped badly by shop owners and staff who get nothing for their involvement. The bus back was snailish. What’s new?

Dying for a burger.

Lost Monkey Found

Ah, that long 69 bus ride. I travelled with older people who remembered Rathbone Market back in the day and lamented its passing.

From the bus stop I saw Lewis the artist at his mural decorating a massive building site hoarding, even through my free Heart sunglasses which were given to me as soon as I entered the square. That artist is just about the nicest unpretentious  artist I’ve met since Mudras with Sarah Lawton. Oh , not forgetting Hassan Vawda of E17. No more necessary to say so here are the pics.wpid-2015-08-09-12.54.17.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-08-09-12.54.30.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-08-09-12.53.55.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-08-09-12.54.05.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-08-09-12.56.06.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-08-09-14.38.22.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-08-09-12.58.09.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-08-09-12.53.32.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-08-09-12.53.36.jpg.jpeg



Love this

Education/Residencies/Exhibitions/Publications/Awards/Work History

Hassan paints & Hassan writes & Hassan learns & Hassan films & Hassan pains & Hassan fights & Hassan burns & Hassan spins & Hassan’s a poet & Hassan’s a prick & Hassan’s a moron & Hassan’s an ant & Hassan’s a bullet & Hassan’s a Kubrick & Hassan’s a thorn & Hassan’s a plant & Hassan has arrogance & Hassan has privilege & Hassan has sacrificed & Hassan has luck & Hassan has chance & Hassan has village & Hassan has identified & Hassan has muck & Hassan’s alone & Hassan’s happy & Hassan’s sad & Hassan’s nervous & Hassan’s grown & Hassan’s soapy & Hassan’s mad & Hassan’s obnoxious & Hassan has dreams & Hassan has things & Hassan has taste & Hassan has regret & Hassan has Queens & Hassan has Kings & Hassan has traced & Hassan has regressed & Hassan’s a Muslim & Hassan’s a sinner & Hassan’s a fraud & Hassan’s a carer & Hassan’s a victim & Hassan’s a winner & Hassan’s a lord & Hassan’s a starer & Hassan thinks he paints & Hassan thinks he writes & Hassan thinks he learns & Hassan thinks he films.



Mary Katherine presents


Mary Katherine is 72 years old and manages and presents a weekly magazine programme at East London Radio which targets seniors as it online audience. She plays music from the 1940’s, ’50s ’60s mainly but not exclusively because there will be repeats of Joan Armatrading and Adele. Listeners can text or email in and they do. Danny of Hackney Wick always wants Elvis whereas Mary in Chingford wants any Val Doonican.  Mary Katherine obliges with her producers lining up the golden oldies.mary 3music27

As Up Your Street gets out and about so I am able to supply a true mixture of the type of personalities doin’ their thing  representing what’s out there to become Mary Katherine’s guests on a  twenty minute slot at noon on Thurdays


On the 18th June it’s show time for local Walthamstow artist Hassan Vawda. His work recently featured in the front window and beyond at Pictorem Gallery Hoe Street E17 (but nearer E10) as part of the E17 Art Trail 2015. By day he sorts out students at Rosetta Art Centre in West Ham and facilitates art workshops with passion.

Ethan Gallery

E17 is just about to go into full swing at its Art Trail. This is massive. Last night there were launch events dotted all over the parish. I went to Pictorem in Hoe Street as the artist and admin officer at Rosetta Art centre in West Ham had invited his older people’s clay sculpting class. I in turn invited the world and her husband.

The Pictorem owners really did welcome us and the gallery was bursting with chatty artists and art lovers all tucking into Werther’s Originals as the sun moved across into evening. Meanwhile along the road a cyclist had been severely injured by a bus so sirens added to the distractions. (Anyone know that children’s book “Each Peach, Pear, Plum”? So Chekhovian. You know, someone’s trying to die then the phone rings).

After enjoying Hassan and Alison’s works in display a group of us clay students and partners went up the road to the Ethan Gallery where exhibited on white walls is my latest collection of acrylic on canvases entitled “At the Swim”.  Obviously “Cynthia Re-vitalised” and “Stefanie Hanging On” and all the other painted ladies are not seen by all and sundry as Ethan is in my home. It’s a pop-up gallery and I lifted the carpets and tasselled the curtains, banged nails into walls, curated my own work, provided wine and home-made samosas(not all Isosceles triangles), and we all chatted as friends and Art Trailers. wpid-2015-05-28-15.50.50-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-05-28-15.48.29-1.jpg.jpeg

Then at 11pm along came Pat of Nehru Gallery fame at our V&A visit where she’d guided us.  Oh my!  That Pat knows how to appreciate art having followed a two year course at Birkbeck. She also makes great Caribbean sarnis. I left her to analyse, compare and appreciate like a true Tim Marlow. My self-esteem was up on the picture rail.

What the Flip.

So she said to me “I don’t like poetry”.

On Showcase TV, Bob Dylan’s old footage is being screened and someone else said it that Dylan is the best poet to have come out in the last 300 years. Hear hear mate! There’s not one woman in this programme by the way, not singing, not walking by, not presenting. Ne’er mind. We’re so used to it. Ooh just saw a woman co-produced it executively.

I watched a documentary last week about James Brown. Now there’s a guy I don’t warm to. Lived through his music at every Blues party I was dragged to. The documentary after Reginald D. Hunter’s trek through Southern States of USA was great but greater was generous ole Mick Jagger saying it like it was. He guided us through the secrets of editing and assured us that he was never worried about appearing straight after Brown, because he never did. The editing made one particular set of shows look like one evening’s entertainment. Jagger said it was performed over hours and hours with different audiences. I believe him because he was laughing away like an old granddad.

Reginald D Hunter should have taken me to Alabama and beyond. I have eaten grits in New Orleans and written poems about Hurricane Katrina and her family. I would have sat quietly in the car and fanned his forehead. Don’t think he’s keen on women.

So she who doesn’t like poetry asked me today for one of my poems for her radio show. Wow I am juggling an old conundrum in my head “Are principles prejudices?” And would I ask Sba or Hassan or any of my artist acquaintances “Ooh can I just have one of your paintings to boost my ratings?”

There’s an exhibition of sorts at East posh Village in The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this Saturday coming. It’s a tour with artists and to get tickets you had to email the E20 outfit. The flats are private so unless you’ve got the key you can never see the work hung in foyers and stairwells over the next year.  Blow me down! I’m one of the artists and not even a reserved ticket for me. That’s how things happen and twenty years later we say “WTF”.