It’s all about the Birds

From the mural in Coppermill Lane to the Swifts in windows for The E17 Art Trail to the electronically tagged wrapped hens in Morrison’s it’s all about the birds. It is all about the Walthamstow Wetlands such that when, at Hilary’s Tuesday’s Sociable Sewing yesterday, when it was warm and sunny, M proposed we make a quilt and a group almost decided to pay homage to Walthamstow Wetlands by appliqueing swifts on a sheet. Theft of chickens by the poor of the borough was talked about and we were aghast amongst the pinking shears, pink flowers and pink piping. On the walls behind us were geese in acrylic, winged shapes on lino-cuts, and black knitted swifts in the rafters. That is the Wonder of the Wetlands aka Wonderful Wetlands.
I spied the cat amongst the …er..pigeons. Hassan’s work caught my eye, coloured my senses, made me gasp, made me urgent in my tracks to covet the pink cat next to a fluffy bottom of a heron. The background was sharp and industrial, urban and vast. The painting’s title was long and poetic. The painting IS of the Wetlands; the mysteries and wonder of nature in a wild place soon to be full of visitors and lo and behold, children. We are voyeurs looking through Bent grass to see birds and foxes, herons and cats at work.

Back in the room we debated the journey of a quilt put together by women learning foundation stitching and adoring tiny prints on tiny cotton samples. Should the quilt be as large as The Mill table? Where would it really end up? The word quilt vanished and was replaced by “wall-hanging” and then applique showed its mistress head and tada..embellishments. Now we were moving into RAGWORKS territory. How would the integrity of a sewing group known for its ease and acceptability, drop-in nature, do-as-you-please nature survive a transformation into a group work needing homework and commitment and the possibility of excluding those who were not ready to be part of another women’s quilting group. Who would sew? Who would go?
The point of the group and any informal non-professional group in a community hub is surely the getting together of people. those from Venus in the main, and a chance to laugh, talk and chat, jaw and natter. We don’t do that over the garden fence anymore. Workshop facilitators worth their plaster of Paris, or their crocheted wire know that. Seamless Seams and Songololo were not about to produce decorations for a Town Hall. The glory of an amateur accomplishment is charming and always an indication that someone somewhere had a positive vibe going on, is evolved through social grouping and natural selection. And of course the beauty of any amateur wall-hanging and quilt, installation and experience is in the eyes of the makers, rarely the uninvolved recipients.
The nature of a group can be fragile but its integrity related to its title needs to be respected.

So I left my spacious sun-lit room, donned my creased red summer jacket, prepared for the hour journey with my sewing project in my crocheted plastic hold-all, stood at my front door and asked myself “Why are you going to the Mill when you can sew on your own table at home?” “To be Sociable”.
That’s all.

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Up Your Street. Issue 10

Tues Mar 21st £1 on the first day of Spring.10-1pm. Hilary Davis’ Tuesday’s Sociable Sewing at the Mill Coppermill Lane E17. Bring your own sewing project or follow Hilary’s suggestions.

free 1-6pm Art exhibition at Memorial Church in Barking Road. Women artists. Open weekends an Tuesdays until April 8th.

Wed Mar 22nd free “Local Art Exhibition by the very talented students and teacher at Forest Gate Learning Zone’s Fine Art Classes.
The exhibition takes place at Forest Gate Arts, 11 Upton Lane E7 9PA

from Wednesday 22 March until Saturday 1 April (except Monday 27 March).

Many of these fine art works will be for sale at very affordable prices.”

(Thank you, Richard and Anna, for sharing).

Fri Mar 24th free 12-5pm drop in Photo fun at Pembury Centre in Hackney. The Posh Club presents some senior fun. Glad rags and elegant wear.

Mon Mar 27th free 6.30pm Tate Modern Starr Cinema screens “Frida” as a nod to International Women’s Day. Long film. No need to book.

(Thanks to Emma for sharing.)

Notes

1)There’s a very nice welcoming café with a West Indian flair and bakery along Cann Hall Road,E11 just by clean Londis. The bread is delicious but carries Hoxton prices. Parking is okay too still.

2)Thurs Mar 30th free. 11.30am Last of the three champions from Gillian Lawrence’s art project “Champions” at Hackney Central Library E8 our local Hilary Davis who will tell us through her chat and chosen music at East London Radio in Leytonstone what experiences drive her to support her local community. She will close the art project by being the final guest as down comes the exhibition and she collects her beautiful canvas.

Mary Katherine’s East London Radio’s programme is dedicated to lifting Yourself up to good living and so many champions who deal with very difficult emotive subjects were not invited for a March interview despite my recommendation as project leader. Ah, the year is long yet.

Hilary can be found every other Tuesday at the Mill E17, oft times at The Claremont Project in Islington or enjoying a brunch at Bill’s.

3)I made a Simnel Cake already.

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