Walking Back to Happiness. Oompah wah ya-ah-ay


From Mental Spaghetti
“I’d like to share this news from our friends at ThinkArts!. Not strictly an art event, but an outing from an art group.

“We are pleased to announce that we have a new lot of walks to deliver over Summer 2015, entitled ‘Walking to Wellness’, thanks to the Mayor of London Free Sport initiative.

The first walk will be a guided tour around Lea Valley on Thursday 13th August 2015 starting from the Ice Park at 12.45pm. We will be meeting for lunch before on the benches if you would like to turn up earlier and have a snack before we get going around the green space then we will be in the Ice Park car park from 12pm. Please contact ThinkArts! beforehand so that I have your details and expect you to arrive.

If you or someone you know would like to join us on any of the walks – the dates are as follows:

Dates of the first walk:
*Thursday 13th August”

Mental Spaghetti

Barking is always busy. Fact. Barking is packed with charity shops and en route to Boundary Road, packed with tower blocks. We passed a car-park,  pot-holes an’ all, which could have passed for a criminal patch on “Minder”.  It’s  only because I recognised “The Hope” pub next to an old house labelled as a mosque  that we could know we were at Studio 3 Arts. What a desert. Up to now, I’m not too sure if our bus-stop were the end of the line. Felt like it.

Studio 3 Arts is spacious and airy, light and even has a back garden. Top notch venue.

Today we were at the ‘sold-out’  free printing and woodcut workshop: Number two of three creative workshops targeting those people who use or have used mental health services and then other people are made welcome. Our tutor has a passion for her art and shared it with us newbies. We started off with seven of us, the majority from Up Your Street  and were joined by three latecomers. We wait for no man.




The Guardian culture pages carried a write-up about the aims of Mental Spaghetti which gave John Hegley an airing and that article bred aggressive questioning by commentators online. There is a great controversy about the success and failure of art therapy as a diagnostic tool for mental health facility users. And then there’s up for discussion the political crime about the Government slashing services for mental health well-being and then being complacent enough  to watch artists and community hubs take over the role of professionals in the medical field. Watch how schools will soon be staffed by classroom assistants. Because artists see a gap in the system then they use their skills at community hubs and do their gooding, promote art as a religion and bring in the flocks. The Government who doesn’t give a toss about the vulnerable folds its arms, and hopes art will cure all.

We seniors enjoyed ourselves immensely and came away  looking like end-of-term fashion students with our gaffer-taped improvised art folders.. We’d learnt, we’d cut , we’d printed, we’d laughed, eaten and clapped. Now I don’t know how that experience could help anyone with mental health ill-being. I never met anyone today who expressed where they were mentally so I cannot even be clever and guess their state of wellbeing afterwards. I was too tired by the precision-cutting, the calculating of negative and positive as we “cut out the light” ( scraping away the wood where we didn’t want black ink), the rolling, the pressing, the inking and the achievement to work it all out.


Issue 26 Up Your Street

Fri 3rd July free 6-9pm Glebe Road Open Studio (Ceramics)

Open Studio private view

Maria Alvarez Echenique
18 Glebe Road Studios
London E8 4BD

Sat 4th July  12-6pm Choose and PAY for  a piece of ceramic and decorate it with glaze then learn about how it is packed into the kiln and  fired at 3pm

Sun 5th July free 12-6pm collect your work from above.

                       free 11 am. The Mill E17  Final chance to view art on the wall.

Mon 6th July free 10-1pm Sewing and machines at Create in Old Ford Road. Squashed. Hardly drop in more like one out one in. Loads of resources and a cuppa too.

Thurs 9th July free     10.00-1pm Mental Spaghetti Barking, Plaster of Paris,words with poet John Hegley, and fun. Book at Eventbrite.  Other sessions available. e.g. printing and plaster sculpture on other dates in July. (Update. Printing class is full).

Studio 3 Arts
Boundary Road
IG11 7JR Barking
United Kingdom