RAGWORKS @Hackney art launch/social

People banging on the front door, mobile phones going off, people coming in out of the rain, pottery students banging away in the next studio,,,,Aah the scene was set for the RAGWORKS launch. The thunder had been rolling all afternoon and Darnley Gallery’s manager had put on the radiators knowing guests may be wet, wet, wet.The serving wenches, well schoolgirls, were unable to make it through the storms in time for 4pm as school detentions took precedence so it was up to I the artist to polish up the glasses. Happiness was mine when I checked the Centre fridge to see the manager, Mr Wonderful, had placed in there all the wine from the Co-op so it was nicely chilled. .All good stuff at half price. Quids in. The tea trolley was all ready too.  All I had to do was arrange the kosher biscuits, the halal kebabs and non-animal gelatine sweets flavoured by carrots and soak in my art in a darkened Gallery before the lights signalled a launch on the hour. Peace, sitting in a refurbished Hackney basement on a garden level loving Red Riding Hood and Dr Foster and checking all bamboo canes were level. The manager had hung Roar, The Girl With The Pearl Earring and Jemima Puddle-Duck from the rafters which enhanced the installation giving the room a mystical curtained effect. Bravo!

Guests trickled in, some experiencing art exhibitions and galleries for the first time and the camera man, Leopold Naessens, with an accent on the first ‘e’, mais oui, came in laden with equipment at 5pm. One guest left to go on to The Royal Festival Hall; overloaded with culture I’d say! Someone kindly put the received flowers in vases and people sat down to tuck into good wine and nibbles.

The meat of the evening was people talking freely about art and they interviewing me almost formally on how I was inspired to create RAGWORKS. The joy was explaining my techniques and my passion.

Everything about RAGWORKS began in November 2011 with my seeing sumptuous material unbagged in a huge overflowing recycle bin outside Applejack, a textile manufacturer near to my house.  I thought ,”I could do something with that”. It was winter and even on snowy Tuesday mornings, the times when the borough recycle lorry carted away materials and cardboard boxes, I schlepped over to the factory gates way before the arrival of the lorry, and in the name of art, rummaged. What beautiful stuff. Twice I showed myself to the guy in charge  and begged material. Twice I believed I was a smell under his nose.  One morning he beckoned me to a lock-up and there inside were cartons of material he’d kept just for me. Enough to make an ole gal swoon, I tell you. It was heaven. That morning without dignity and for the sake of art, I carried bundles on my back , along the pavement, and in plastic bags which were ripping my wrists into redness.

I’ll explain the pattern- making in the RAGWORKS blog under “jackrags” as in Applejack .

The launch was a hoot. Everyone loved RAGWORKS and chose their favourite fairy-story character. There are 31 wall-hangings and only 13 on display at any one time in The Darnley Gallery. One guest had seen “Song-bird” based on Neech (www.neechmusic.com) at the Stratford east PictureHouse exhibition and was disappointed not to see it again. I directed her to the website/blogsite but knew that was a wasted affort. She remembered also “Tar-Baby” and we discussed how the title was deemed racist by some back in the day. (We don’t know who!). In March, I had mulled over whether to rename my design but went along the path of that that was how I knew the story in the 1970s when I was studying West African literature and repeating it to children in the 1980s. Tar -Baby it is and that design is mostly alien in form weighted heavily by a massive black fur hat.

Artist Debra Cadet-Wallace was a very welcome guest. I knew about her work through FaceBook and through visiting her web-site. She is familiar to many through posters promoting the force that is Stratford east Singers. The pair of us had to put our singing on the back burner because of art commitments. It was great to chat openly to another artist about the spirit, the soul and our passion embedded in our  work.

How lovely to come out of a lovely space, warmed with friendship and wine, into a still light and freshly washed Hackney evening . Thank you one and all.  Exhibition there until 27th April. Where did that month go? Part of RAGWORKS is at the Mill E17 for another week too. Hooray for wall spaces!

Leopold Naessens has some editing work to do! He reminded me that I have learnt, graduated, and enjoyed film -editing with the Documentary Film Group (DFG) and at The Learning Spaces in St Joseph’s Hospice. Hackney and sound -editing with Streetlife Radio. To me editing takes mega-patience. He is a patient guy. Leo did well for us and I am grateful that he did everything and  gave up his time generously. Camera work is his passion. Actually he also designed and produced the RAGWORKS logo. Tres bien!

The National Theatre at the pictures E15

Yesterday evening “The Cherry Orchard” was beamed across by Satellite and as cheap as chips into The Picturehouse, Stratford E15.  We six members in the auditorium enjoyed it. 6? I arsk yer! Wonder if the aforesaid Picturehouse needs volunteers to market it a la OpenStage opposite at TRSE. Definitely needs a lobby/stair cleaner.

Workers, no pay, and snow

I watched the factory workers turn the corner of my road as I took in my pinta at  7a.m. It was silent. I thought of my  friend struggling across London to get into work. I thought of the working parents who are upset that their childminders aka  teachers aren’t able to get to school so that they then could get to work. Bless. Teachers are educators not nannies.

I thought of the head teacher faffing around at my place of work when the boiler was broken in the cold snow weather. I’d phoned in and was told to come to work. I packed up my children aged 4 and 7, caught the three buses and tube across London in the morning rush hour to deposit them at their grandmother’s because the childminder, (gold dust) was not able to take them for a reason I can’t remember and then travelled back on the same route to work only to be told that the school was about to shut and all staff could go home. Would you Adam and Eve it? I was one of the first mother of infants teachers. A veritable freak. The head was one of the million m***********  head teachers who condemned working women, let alone fertile ones. Imagine doing all that today. You’d jus’ say “You know what? Forget it. Dock my wages, do what you like”. That was back in the day when phones were special and employers could tread on any toes. Phones are no longer special, are they?

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Describe it but don’t be the victim. Carla said something strong on Corri last night like “Go and control the situation which is yours before someone else does.” I’ll check in itv.com/itv.player as there is no way I should misquote. You wouldn’t want to misquote Shakespeare so why the writers of the best soap ever? Have you appreciated the acting? Have you studied the dramatic irony? Agree, or taste and see for yourself:- “Wouldn’t you rather see for yourself?” Soyinka “The Telephone Conversation”.

Squirmed as Ant and Dec Pan  interviewed young Aggro aka Afro Santos . It’s a language thing, yer get me right bruv?  Aggro said that he had found it a pleasure to be surrounded by mature people (in the TV jungle setting. Remember it is TV land) because he learnt from them and became a better person. Aah. There’s ole wotsername who went into the jungle to drop dress sizes slagging him off for being shallow. Irony there, mate.

Found the noise button for Radio Nova today as Streetlifefm is down : Managers and djs can’t get through the snow. Easy to switch loyalties. Nothing is precious.

A few months back I went to see “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”,  Audrey Hepburn’s film,  down at Stratford Picturehouse. Full with tea and biscuits given freely to me I went and sat in the wrong screen room. There I was watching Tarantino’s “Inglurious Basterds”, the floorboard beginning scene. The cleaner found me and told me  to go into the other screening. That Audrey film was awful. What is all the fuss about? Skinny woman screeching rubbish in a romcom with rain. Yuk. And as for Moon River. Always hated it.  Well I sat it out till I’d finished my sour jelly sweets and milk bottles. On Ebay I found Tarantino’s film for 99p and got it home. Absolutely love it. The camera shots, the suspense, the acting, the story-line. Always a pleasure, Quent.

Watched “Beowulf” on Saturday on telly. Loved it too. Clever stuff, eh?

All took me away from my addiction to “Bid Up TV”