RAGWORKS comes to town

In the spacious gallery that is Stratford east Picturehouse amidst the smell of pop corn  and within the echoes of staff chatting by the hot dog machine downstairs, you will be amazed to find RAGWORKS. Under sympathetic lighting,  wall-hangings depicting Grimm and Anderson fairy tale characters,  West African humanised animals and other flights of an artist’s fancy are  displayed on recycled bamboo hangers.

These art works have been lovingly hand-made and crafted from abandoned refreshed textiles begged from local manufacturers.

Come and see The Palm Oil Daughter, how pretty she is as she melts by the river or Red Riding Hood covered in blood.

Gillian, the artist, (that’s me) studied art at Hornsey Art College and  West African literature in Leicester way back in the seventies before the word ‘multi-cultural’ met Carol Vordermann’s vowel-tray and has exhibited batiks both in east London and Orkney. Over the past two years whilst forging ahead with Up Your Street Gillian has attended many art and craft workshops in the 6 London 2012 boroughs., notably ceramics at The Centre For Better Health in Hackney.  Thirsty to revisit techniques from university days she has joined and completed felt-making classes, patchwork curtain ones, screen -printing workshops, courtesy of Songololo-Feet, and a host of other courses which appeared as freebies to engage seniors with the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. All to the good. Can’t stop learning.

Farm.shop@Dalston Junction, ‘Ackney. Caribbean Elders

Went for a sniff-around and was greeted warmly even though the shop/cafe/cinema didn’t open until 11 am. A magical humid place indeed in a gorgeous olde worlde house just next to tatty CLR James Library. All modernised and ready for cafe customers where the tea is a £1 so that gives a marker to the cost of the nutritious food and lattes. Not dear. Well, it is Dalston. There’s a Vegan cafe on the next turning and that needs some investigation and sampling too. What’s doubly nice is that the Farm.shop is opposite the wonderful Dalston Eastern Curve Garden at Dalston Junction.

The place was shown in a blink of an eye on Andrew Marr’s “Megacities” programme. (Catch up on BBC iPlayer). The front is a tanked area for friendly edible fish and the propogation of seedlings. Out back is the tadpole tank and the flower-pots full o’ stuff and the polytunnel that houses the growing nasturtiums (yummy flowers and leaves, forget blooming  decoration) aka ‘Tom Thumb’ , and then the cinema. Yes! A projector  and camera space ; a film was shown last night.

The place isn’t up itself but a worthy adventure. Volunteers can pledge their services on Mondays at 7pm. Full marks to another up and coming business in Dalston.

See The Hackney Archives building on the next block is smart but un-stocked as yet. That’ll be a grand opening.

Songololo-Feet was my next port of call. Wasn’t so crowded today at The Sharp End in Richmond Road, Dalston again! Today our tutor advised us of next week’s half-day project , making a creative banner with all passionate words and symbols from the women of Hackney, the BME groups in Hackney, the 50+ groups in Hackney. Up Your street5 participants at the textiles and re-cycling workshop (and we make up 66%) are proud to originate from other London 2012 boroughs and ethnic groups. I spied a man at the workshop too!

There’s a huge intergenerational project coming up with its venue in Hackney………

A Comic Relief funded inter-generational video/film project involving 12

Caribbean elders and 12 young black men who have been involved in gang crime.

The focus is on the Caribbean war-time community as a way of telling their

stories from the 2nd world war to the present day from a Hackney perspective.

The project would involve older people being paired with young people in order

to support them to plan, design and produce the film/video. Working in

partnership with Hackney Caribbean elders. Young people and elders will be

taught video and film skills by a local Hackney production company to produce a

series of short films/video which capture the voices of the elders through young

people. The project will also work in partnership with the Youth Offending Team.

The project would span 12 months – produce the scripts, film including edit.

This will be presented at film/video screenings at local lunch clubs, elders day

centres with a grand screening night open to all elders at the Hackney Empire.

The aims are to teach film based skills, inter personal skills, team working and

intergenerational skills for both young people and elders. Once completed a

resource pack will be created and sent out to all Hackney schools.

All sessions will be held in Hackney and we will arrange travel if necessary.

Anyone interested should contact Dave on 020 8525 0600, or email

dave@holditdown.org.uk , before mid-July.


Got drenched after I shopped at Koza Supermarket for my fresh veg. out-of-date bargains and tripe. Yep! Tripe. Gonna have it with hot pepper and egushi (crushed melon seeds). 

The first day of Summer is good.

Issue 14 Up Your Street5

   Fri   April  8th      free    7pm Openstage 2012 volunteers from Up Your Street5  attend
                                                “Funk It Up About Nothin'”
                                   at Theatre Royal Stratford east.
Sat April 9th       free   12-6pm  Indoor community market.   Navarino Mansions Hall. Dalston Lane E8
                          free   8.30pm    John Arthur (Walthamstow singer and author) sings and plays at
                                   the Zenith   125 Packington Street  Islington N1 7EA       nearest tube  is Angel.


Sun  April 10th        free      11-12.30pm Guided walk of Abney Park Cemetery and nature reserve. Meet 11 am main gate

                                            Casenove Rd , Stoke Newington
                                           90 minutes  ..no cafe. (Thanks to Susan in Upper Clapton for that entry)
                              free        noon    Hackney Downs Park allotment meadow planting.
Mon  April 11th     
                              free       2.45pm        Walk to Olympic and Paralympic Games site with BCTV volunteers who are
                                            starting in Tottenham. One way. Meet outside Princess of Wales pub, Lea Bridge Rd E10
                                            Ending up at Pudding Lane Station near Stratford Station.
Wed April13th     free       NB Songololo-Feet is on Easter break.
Thurs  April 14th     Agewell Singers performing at Newham Hospital.
                                Openstage 2012 volunteers at TRSE launch their website. All volunteers from Up Your Street5 will be going along
                               to the theatre in Stratford’s Cultural Quarter.
Advance notices 

Sun    April 17th     free            5pm Downhills Park Cafe Haringey . AGM Downshill Park friends. All welcome.


                                                 Smith’s fish restaurant opening this month in Wapping, 22 Wapping High Street.E1

                                                 (Up Your Street5  negotiating a seniors’ deal!)

                                                 Eel pie anyone? (Hurry up builders!)
Gillian Lawrence                  
Up Your Street5   an information-sharing service for seniors listing free events and activities in the 5 London 2012 boroughs.