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.

Free courses and workshops, up and down.

All happening!  The last of the cake-decorating classes in Holden Point passed yesterday with a fanfare of photography and certificates for those who were there at the right time.

Singing sessions with Stratford East Singers phased into its new time yesterday : Intense Wednesday from 7-9.30pm. Bit of Africa medley,  a la Lady Smith Black Mambazo*,  going on with some R&B stepped up and in. Nothing to complain about there as we have a teacher who is passionate about his work , is the TRSE Creative Music Director,  and  makes sure we are all engaged and on the note.  Observers came from another big event in its planning stage and clapped for us vigorously. All coincidental isn’t it that projects are busy involving the community ready in time for the Games?  That’s what I like about the Olympics and Paralympics on their way, that there are opportunities galore for seniors and others but I am, through Up Your Street, on the look out for free events and activities for those above 55.

Ballroom dance lessons close for the term soon at Round Chapel, Lower Clapton, Hackney and will go out with a sequinned flurry and a party. The Claremont Project in Islington will teach seniors ballroom dancing for £2 a go. Membership is free, smiles still being priced up.

“Still Alive And Kicking” with Songololo moved back to The Sharp End in Dalston after moving to Manor House and losing participants on the way. Live and learn!

GLL’s seniors’ sessions on Mondays at Kelmscott E17 satisfied the crowd and will get stronger as the weeks go by. 50p and lots to do.

Stratford Picture House continues to draw in seniors. Added to their viewing pleasure is a free archive exhibition all about Murray Melvin, the actor and archivist at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Murray will be in Leytonstone in March with the “News from Nowhere Club”. There’s also a season of London on Film happening at Stratford PH. That’s watching clips, eating popcorn and joining in discussions. The last one when “Bullet Boy” was screened was hot and contentious. Good to talk. I would have liked to see Openstage 2012 volunteers at Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE) go into discussion groups to review the free shows they get to watch. Good to air opinions and be visible contributors.

“A Taste Of Hackney” , a Ridley Road intergenerational project, had teething problems and still needs Bonjela. It is being evaluated continuously but who knows if that is a a police thing where the only people who evaluate the actions of the police are in fact the biased police. Come now! At The Lawns in Daltson there is an Hackney Healthy Eating Project where yam is king.

So so much to dip into, enjoy and learn from. I waited years to join a free and comfortable singing group. Bingo.

*By the way, SkyArts  1 is showing Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Shabalala’s Zulu choir, in their 2011 concert at Hay.  Timely! Ugh, no eye-candy.