Strengthening Communities through Art.

Those Candy Crush actors are a bit podgy, aren’t they? I was thinking about Veganism and thought about war-rationing. Just thinking.

And that was because I was concentrating on my art for The Mill E17 and how I had to think, well calculate dates, as I was stealing an identity for my project. And I had to even research WW1 dates. I did dress to go out to do another bit of physical research but hey, it’s very cold out. All this work is really in  the end, just for me, because another Mill artist said to me on the bus last Summer, “Only the artists see each other’s work at The Mill, so what’s the point?” Swing back to positive-ness for you can say that about any community art do. Keep on creating. I like Cass Art’s motto:-“Let’s fill this town with art”.

I bought ancient postcards off Mo’s Emporium at Ebay and found quite a few belonging to a family in Walthamstow from 1909. My laptop was hot. My imagination was wild. I do collect postcards anyway and have valuable ones hoarded away in a bank vault. I don’t actually believe postcards are going out of fashion just as fridge magnets aren’t. They are souvenirs whereas emails and snapchats are not yet. From a few words in squid ink on old postcards then I learnt about ye olde worlde fish ‘n’ chip shops in Markhouse Road, who did what in the early sixties, who built houses around railways in 1850 by Marsh Lane and beyond, who owned the land when the farm fields were cut up for development and how on Saturday 13th January 2018, a few local people will be up in arms protesting about building plans around Lea Bridge Station.

The Mill’s art exhibition is about memories. Up Your Street seniors have been on countless projects about their memories. We are reminiscence saturated. The thing is The Mill will turn up quirky art in all sorts of media.

My submissions are quasi quirky.

I made for my friend a scarf art using acrylic paint on unframed canvas spelling out all the words we could remember from domestic life in the fifties and before that having had an art-inspired evening at The Anti University Festival hosted and planned by myself, the artist, talking about headscarves and whatnot. Scarf Art was a thing in 1968 with top notch artists calling out for designs on silk for them to reproduce and make mega-bucks. Seniors at Up Your Street did the same in 2015 and had fun producing loveliness. They painted and printed on rag squares. So my metre squared scarf art goes on display then back to my friend’s wall.2017-12-12 10.03.32

Then add onto that a string of bunting with phrases used by parents and kids in playgrounds to keep order in a world where slaps and smacks were allowed and children pre the revolution were seen and not heard up until the day they brought in wages. Bunting was made from rags originally. At the Vestry Museum there’s a photo 1901 showing the laying of the foundation stone at Davies Lane Primary School and flapping in the breeze alongside the Union Jack are rags . At the Technical E10 there are on the ancient railings cloth triangles as bunting and hiding from the wind. At least they’re not plastic. Plastic is a bad word.

My third submission is the postcard based art work called “Of Kith And Kin”.2018-01-09 13.28.19

Note the old school, aka old skool, pen and ink heading and hand-written fonts. Wait ’til you get inside. But you have to get along to The Mill for that.

On Sunday, after Mass, a neighbour turned up with a whole bundle of unwanted posh Sanderson 1995 material from a mutual acquaintance, all from Up Your Street. The Earth gave up to me. I was able to re-do my Claire Weiss for RAGWORKS International Women’s Day 2018 with appropriate material and so pack away the special collection all about women until March.

My hands are going from mauve to pink now so I can get on with another creation, a quilt for a baby made from refreshed textiles. RAGWORKS style.


Eels, bees, dinners and nibbles.

Issue 18. Up Your Street.

Shared by Folu

“I just wanted to tell you about Gascoyne 1 Community centre, Gascoyne Road, E9. Activities for people over 50. 50p entrance fee. 3-4 pm exercise, refreshments then bingo follows. Starts at 3-6pm

It is run by Hackney marsh partnership.” Thanks, Folu.

Sun 11th June Barking Folk Festival.

Tues 13th June £1 10-1pm . The Mill E17. Hilary’s Tuesday’s Sociable Sewing. Hilary getting us ready for “Fabrications” fabric exhibition at the Mill in July!

Drop in but here is the message to regular attenders:-

“On 13th June, bring a list of all the projects you would like included, with sizes for the larger pieces.

(If you are not able to come, just email them to me).

A group decision on how many of those pieces we can select from each person.”

All will be fabulously soft.

Wed 14th June £2. 2.30pm Rio Cinema Dalston “Hidden Figures” Thanks to BN for sharing.

Thurs 15th June free 4pm “Heroes art exhibition” launch at Claremont, in the Angel,Islington. Nibbles and chat, art and company. Hibo Wardere is on the wall as ‘heroine’ along with all those mums now aged 90 who scraped pennies and rations to provide for their families. We salute them.

Fri 16th June free 5.30-7pm at the Noted Eel and Pie House 481A Leytonstone High Road. E11

Life of the eel. Part of [dis]tinct events for the community. Free dinner for first 40 attenders.


free to view. 7pm Very informal launch of “Art With Bees” exhibition at Butler’s Bakery Cann Hall Road E11 Whilst there, have some jerk chicken and salad or a rum punch, all reasonably-priced.

Average £6.50. “Ladies Who Jerky”.6pm. A group from Up Your Street dining out and why not?

Sat 17th June free 12-6pm Studio 3 Arts in Boundary Road, Barking. Open art day as a summer festival with fun events.
Exhibition to view too.

Sun 18th June free. Various workshops given by seniors . Venues around Shoreditch area.. Programme at Royal Voluntary Service.

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.


Issue 13 of Up Your Street, now ten years old. Whoop!

Easter Holidays are on so many community centres are closed whilst planning post-Easter events.

The Mill in Coppermill Lane E17 and The Claremont Project in White Lion Street, Islington are always putting on events for everyone and usually for free so just check their websites.

Lloyd Park Sharing Heritage for over 50s has produced a booklet about the free to join group’s activities and events. Fitzroy Johnson’s poems are well worth a read. Some of us have met him at projects at The Mill and at Artillery mounted events to do with creative writing. All success to him, a marvellous local sharing poet.

Fri April 21st Some Up Your Streeters have booked themselves to enjoy a Jamaican inspired feast at Butler’s Bakery in Leytonstone.

Next stop may be the restaurant above Hoo Hing wholesalers in Argall Industrial Estate. There is a spacious place where I presume you can ask for a crab to be cooked after you’ve chosen it from a tank in the store. Maybe we’ll do that after we’ve attended a workshop at the new pottery studio around the corner.

Reminder that on May 4th some have signed up for the workshop at Whitechapel Gallery. I’ll send out a reminder.

Well ahead……
There is a great creative and well-being festival coming up in June with bookings taking place now. Advertised are free textile exhibitions in Hackney and workshops. Just put the festival title into your search engine and see what pops up. Many events such as demonstrations, discussions, sing-alongs and etc.

In June too there’s the Anti-University event-laden jamboree with many many free events in ten days. Mostly around Hackney and Old Street area there are exhibitions, discussions, performances and everything in between.

Our local sewing lady, Hilary at Tuesday’s Sociable Sewing at The Mill, will be running more sessions at Claremont. Sylvia and BN will be presenting a topic at Soapbox next month. It is a fact too that Soapbox will not be monthly come to Autumn and beyond.

Up Your Street is ten years old.


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.)


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.



issue 8 of Up Your Street

Finding free local events usually all depending for seniors around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Tues 7th Mar £1 10-1pm Hilary’s Tuesday’s Sociable Sewing at the Mill in Coppermill Lane E17. Parking restrictions in force ALL THE WAY down the lane.

Go enjoy sewing projects and a natter.

Wed 8th Mar free A few International Women’s Day events in a few hubs and churches. Tower gallery Barking Road in a beautiful church an art exhibition and attractions called “51% RememberHer” 6-9pm launch then the installations stay up until April 8th but not open every day. No disabled access though.

6-8pm at The Mill Coppermill Lane E17 Printing with Anna Alcock with women in mind. Need to book at £2 a place.

Hibo Wardere, local campaigner for education about FGM is presented with her award from WAW. Women Appreciating Women. Holiday Inn Regents Park. This is their highest award “The Honorary Award”. Congrats to our champion.

Bruce Castle nothing much to do with women A talk about the disappeared buildings of Tottenham Free.

Thurs 9th Mar free 11.30am At East London Radio hear Hyacinth Myers talk about her living up your life to good living with her Soul Conscious Creations enterprise.

free 4-5pm Claremont’s launch of an art exhibition called “Paradise”. All welcome. Nibbles and smiles. White Lion Street.

Sat 11th Mar free Canning Town Library 5-7.30pm screening “Bridget Jones’s Baby”. Book at Eventbrite.

Sun 12th Mar free 10-noon Walk on the wildside. A springish walk over at Walthamstow Wetlands. Book at Eventbrite.



Up Your Street. Issue 7

Tues Feb 28th free 11-1pm Pancakes for Claremont members at White Lion Street.
Wed Mar 1st free Two art exhibitions acknowledging International Women’s Day 2017.
“Champions” paintings featuring Hilary, Mary, and Marcella from Up Your Street and then other worthy local women represented in acrylic at Hackney Central Library for the month.

“Headscarves 1950s” at Stratford east Picturehouse all month.

Thurs Mar 2nd free 11.30-noon East London Radio. “Champions” art and radio. Here we are linking to Gillian Lawrence’s art in Hackney. Studio guest this week is mover and shaker, Claire Weiss.

Sun Mar 5th free Noon-3pm Stoke Newington. Made in Hackney vegan cookery. Phone to book.

Wed Mar 8th £2 6-8pm The Mill “Printing from a Woman’s Perspective”. With Anna Alcock.

free 6-8pm “51% Remember Her”. Art exhibition and entertainment at the Tower Gallery in Barking Road. Lots of steps. Friendly venue. Active church.

Thurs Mar 9th free 11.30-noon Soul Conscious Creations Hyacinth Myers takes to Cyberspace talking as Mary Katherine’s guest at East London Radio as part of Gillian Lawrence’s art project, “Champions” at Hackney Central Library.

free 4-5pm for Claremont members. Informal launch of the latest art exhibition “Paradise”. It’s a sale too.