Jun 14, 2017

E17 Art Trail First Week

What an amazing first week of the E17 Art Trail. My only complaint is that it is going too fast- my fear of missing out has not abated. I feel as if I am cramming for an exam. I have realised that the best approach is to pick a few things and immerse yourself properly in them. At one point I was even in someone’s bath tub! But more about that later...

I was so happy to see Emma Scutt’s exhibition ‘Celebrating Women in STEM’ where I found out about the physicist and mathematician Katherine Johnson who worked for NASA, calculating flight trajectories for Project Mercury. I have learned so much from the trail this year, which has been an unexpected bonus. Scutt’s portraits are so alive and bold, if you get the chance to visit St. Mary’s Church I would highly recommend taking a look.

Across the borough in another church I was taken aback by the radical nature of the exhibits. I had never visited St Barnabas although have been aware of the progressive approach that is taken there- including their work with migrants and LGBT people which is really heartwarming. This attitude is reflected by the choice of art on display, which promotes the idea of ‘Building Bridges’ across the community. Eliyah Qureshi’s ‘Gold Standard’ series which is driven by the idea of bees and the networks they create represents this idea beautifully- the paintings are really joyful.

 Off to Winn’s Gallery in Lloyd Park, where ‘The Truth and The Truths’ showed ‘fake’ paintings by Travis Perkins. These were fabulous renditions of famous paintings that were actually very desirable as well as affordable. Some of the takings were also destined for the Labour party which was timely.

The following weekend after popping in at Mirth Marvel and Maud for the E17 Designers fair which was a  real treat, I travelled back to Winn’s for the Invisible Numbers exhibition. This was an absolute blinder, showcasing six artists, a design studio and a historian, each exploring their interpretation of the theme of STEAM. This included jewellery and mask-making, incredible paintings of rope-spinners by Denise Ford, the story of an unknown local computer engineer from E17 and much much more. I was lucky enough to see a talk by mask maker Rebecca Ward, who talked about the varying functions of masks from around the world which was fascinating.

Hewing Wittare was next, and I found another ‘mask’ there, although it was really a sort of large heavy anthill which I put my entire head into. The house was decked out in gold crunchy foil which made it quite warm and alien. There was some sound art in the bathroom so I duly got into the bathtub to listen. It was very relaxing and I was in there for some time. Lots of excellent art on the walls by Anna Liber Lewis which contributed to the overall feeling that I was suddenly on a spaceship somewhere far out in outer space, which is exactly what you want from an art exhibition.

After all the excitement it was really nice to head to Cheeky Handmades to see Sean Urquhart read from his new book. I always enjoy hearing his mellifluous Scottish accent and it was a treat to finally see Jennie Caminada’s craft studio which is wonderful.

Rose Richardson’s maps of London are worth going to have a look at, showing how the Thames has evolved throughout time. The maps would make a brilliant gift idea.

Finally I popped in to see John Bain’s extraordinary hand carved furniture, as well as the sculptures of Ellie Noble at venue 26. We had a good chat about Burning Man Festival, Japan, Epping Forest and more and admired the beautiful oak table that was on display. The work marries modern and traditional methods in a really interesting way.

There is so much more to see, and I will be doing my best to see as much as I can. The Art Trail is on until the 18th June so there is still plenty of time to go and explore. Happy wandering!

Preview Night

To give audiences a head start an amazing 34 exhibitions opened early for preview night and parties broke out all over Walthamstow. Here is an account of the evening from our guest blogger, Emma Hammond, goodeggsocial.com

The fear of missing out was real! The E17 Art Trail Preview night was absolutely packed with interesting events, street parties and private views.

After some deliberation, first stop was Adam Graff’s photographic images of Walthamstow at Incoming Coffee. Taken from his Instagram account, the images celebrate the unseen parts of the borough. Like tiny windows in their smaller format, the pictures show little glimpses of everyday life and are raw and poetic.

Next up was a trip to Central Parade to see Object Book’s launch of their ‘festival within a festival’. I would recommend picking up a guide as there is a whole raft of exciting things happening, from a ‘library rave’ to a workshop on how to make an edible fairy tale book. I had a go on the ‘audio book silent disco’ which was great.

Off to Ruby Road where a street party was celebrating Share UK’s excellent photos of women activists. A bowl of pesto fell on my new white trainers but luckily they were unscathed. Kids were doing ‘political colouring in’, the wine was flowing and the portraits are exceptional. From women’s rights activist Helen Pankhurst to Greenham Common protester Ellen Jones, there is much there to learn and see.

Popped in to No 70 Hoe Street and saw Harriet Knuckles’ crochet creations, one of which is a seagull smoking a fag which really made my night. Go and have a look as the pieces are super fun!

‘Gentrification is Nigh’ at the E17 Art House was packed with people, it was hard to get in! More Adam Graff here doing Edvard Munch’s Scream as a head in the hole board as well as comments on the changing face of Walthamstow, by Tim Reedy and Danny Flynn.

Spent some time with Amanda Doidge in her little studio, learning about how she made her experimental ceramics. Using Lithium Carbonate in different amounts causing various distortion to teacups, she has created a series that is both delicate and bizarre. Amanda is also putting on a series of talks about chemical processes that are worth looking into.

Francis West’s engravings in the Walthamstow Village Window Gallery are absolutely exquisite. I am sure you will walk by them on your way to work! I really enjoyed looking at these, the mythical creatures, performing animals and fishermen are so vibrant and alive they are a real joy.

I was so happy to see Chloe Beale’s photographs of Dungeness in Kent as they reminded me of the time I spent there on holiday. Dungeness is a remarkable place and Chloe has really captured the magic and eeriness with her striking images.

The last stop (after dinner at the Deli- the Village was buzzing and it was a beautiful evening) was to see Lucy Henzell-Thomas‏’s ‘Icons of Women in Science’. I highly recommend you going along to see these if you can, I learnt so much. Many of them are fairly obscure, from Maryam Mirzakhani to Chien-Shiung Wu, so I will be doing some Googling today! Also represented here is Laika, the first dog in space and we took some time to imagine her reaction as she hurtled through space. Also being shown was ‘Wondering on the Moon’ a collection of illustrations exploring folklore and facts about the moon. I think kids will love venue 135!

This is just a very small snapshot of preview night. It has definitely made me extremely excited about the next few weeks and I can’t wait to catch up with the many other venues. If you haven’t already, get hold of a guide and start some planning- you won’t regret it.

One in five Walthamstow Residents taking part in the E17 Art Trail 2017!

Over 7000 artists, residents and workplaces in Walthamstow invite you to enjoy every element of the E17 Art Trail 2017. Infused with a STEAM theme, painters, sculptors, poets, choirs, photographers, designers, ceramicists, and dancers welcome you to enjoy exhibitions, performances and workshops in the studios and streets, parks and pubs, cafes and shopping centres, faith spaces and community places. (STEAM is the acronym acknowledging the influence of creative disciplines in STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths.)

The non-hierarchical nature of the E17 Art Trail and its democratic invitation to participate means that professional artists exhibit alongside 23 schools, colleges and under 5’s centres. A resident-led project, 1000 Swifts, is encouraging even more local people to take part in the festival by making and displaying a swift in their gardens or windows to celebrate the Walthamstow Wetlands, the largest urban wetland in Europe opening later this summer. 

This year artists have been collaborating with academics at Queen Mary University of London, University College London and Birkbeck University of London to bring new technologies and a talks programme to the festival. Explorations include painting with light, local connections to coding early computers and searching for the building blocks of life in space. 

As in previous years, the opportunity to discover artists’ workspaces in studios, workshops, sheds and open houses is a big draw for audiences, inspiring them to realise their own creative ideas. The E17 Art Trail offers a supportive platform to test ideas and the audience are an integral part of developing new work. Many projects will go on to be showcased at festivals and exhibited elsewhere over the summer months, including the Walthamstow Garden Party and the Barbican Centre. 

The Trail Guide is available from participating venues, Waltham Forest Libraries and online here.

Dec 2, 2015

E17 Art Trail: The Next Chapter

After an absolutely amazing year of so many amazing events with a bigger than ever Art Trail, sprawling creativity into every corner of Walthamstow. It is now confirmed that the event will take a short hiatus in 2016 and return bigger and better than ever in 2017. 
The next E17 Art Trail will take place 3-18 June 2017, with registration for artists and participants opening in January 2017. We are already considering themes, and are open to hearing your ideas. 
In the intervening year we will be inviting local residents to join us in creating a new event - Trail Tales (working title) - mobilising our ever growing networks of creative practitioners and residents to enliven our streets with their talents. 

Aug 19, 2015

Walthamstow Garden Party: And There's More!

Artillery Island stood proudly in the centre of Lloyd Park and for us was a focal point. It formed part of a much larger exciting collaboration of different artistic, creative and foodie pursuits. The E17Designers Market showcased many of the E17 Art Trail’s beloved creatives including Seiko from D4Discus (I couldn't resist getting this cute Hungry Caterpillar cushion!) and Bridget from Beyond Beading who were friendly faces.

The creative stall was filled with activity from making simple rings with my friends Lucie and Karen from Made by Ore, a most impressive xylophone workshop from the Blackhorse Workshop and printing and bird house building to name others.

Outside the tents there was a cyanotype workshop and the opportunity to create large poppy as part of the latest Significant Seams giant work.


Inside the William Morris Gallery there were levels of activity leading up to hand printing on the top floor. It really was amazing how many levels there were to the man himself too, not just the pretty flowers - and there was even a walking tour on that too. The Walthamstow Garden Party had it covered.


Joining our marquee on Artillery Island was a recycling planting workshops, and a children’s theatre production. Along the bridges there was a travelling story boat and out towards the back far too much to contain here.

Overall another astounding unbelievably packed full weekend of wonder and magic. The weather was glorious, we were blessed with sunshine and warmth to enjoy the buzzing bees in William Morris’s flower garden.

Suffice to say if you missed it this year, get it in your diaries for next year to avoid disappointment.

Walthamstow Garden Party: Surprising Veggie Facts with Organiclea

Kristen from Organiclea mirrored her talk in being an undiscovered gem. Stepping up to take the final food demonstration slot of the weekend she shone a much needed light on the much underrated magic to be found in a simple allotment. Having thought I knew something about produce, Kristen’s 45 minute slot blew me away with so many amazing and interesting discoveries. Using veg all from the Organiclea’s veg box scheme, the audience was introduced to a whole new world of tastes in her final salads.

Here were my top 5 new facts I learned:

1. Out of the over 80 different varieties of salad leaf Organiclea have throughout the year, I found a potential favourite. It’s called ice lettuce and is incredible! It looks like it has little drops of dew on it and is sweet and incredibly crunchy. It actually elicited me to send a tweet to all the major supermarkets asking why we didn’t hear more about it.

2. Beetroot is beautiful, along with being purple it can also be golden, striped, candied and eaten raw.

3. Did you know there are at least three uses for your carrot tops? Neither did I! According to Kristen you can make a detox tea with honey, stir fry them or make a pesto!

4. Tearing tomatoes apparently helps the flavour delivery – and is great fun for children, seeds all over the kitchen! Explosive fun! Salt can draw the flavours out even more, that’s why Kristen put a sprinkle of salt on her salad.

5. Basil doesn’t like being stored in the fridge – instead put it into a cool cupboard and get an extra few days out of it. More fridge space and more basil life win win!

If that inspired you and you want to get your hands on some Organiclea veg boxes and salads here are is their website: http://www.organiclea.org.uk/we-sell-food/box-scheme/

Walthamstow Garden Party: We Hand it to Hülya

Ever since we learned Hülya Erdal, founder of Made By The Chef, was coming to the Walthamstow Garden Party we’ve been looking forward to experiencing her flavoursome Eastern Mediterranean treats. As a professional chef, teacher and presenter we knew our Sunday morning demo slot was in safe hands.

We weren't wrong! In a trice Hülya had fully engaged and enchanted the audience with her hearty laugh and anecdotes about local produce and Mediterranean cooking. 


Bunches of mint were passed around the audience by her capable assistant Julie, along with the falafel mix Hülya had created that morning - a sort of Blue Peter affair.

 We learned that a simple substitution of quinoa for couscous allows a wider range of people to enjoy it as it is wheat free, and we heard that by supporting your local market you can come away with arms of fresh herbs and giant spring onions!

The real test was in the taste. Several appreciative “mmm”s and “yum”s testified her reputation lives on.

If you'd like to see Hülya live in action again you can follow her through her website, twitter and facebook and she'll be on stage again at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair presenting on Tuesday 8th September.  

Meanwhile, here are the recipes for the fantastic Turkish inspired dishes she created:

'Raw' Falafel with Quinoa Tabbouleh nestled in Flat bread finished with Tahini drizzle, Pomegranate Molasses and Sumac 

'Raw' Falafel 

These are a delicious carrot version of falafel that can be made and dehydrated to maintain a raw food diet. Alternatively, you can bake them in the oven which keeps them healthy instead of frying. Great thing about falafels is they're versatility as a snack and main meal and they're gluten free, vegan and vegetarian.

You will need (Serves 4):
·         200g sesame seeds
·         half tsp Himalayan or sea salt
·         5 good sized carrots, peeled and finely grated, (to make up about 300g)
·         2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pureed
·         1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
·         quarter tsp ground cumin
·         quarter tsp ground coriander
·         2 tbsp flax seeds ground in a small processor
·         handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped 

Note: If you don't have a dehydrator, preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas 4.
·         Grind the sesame seeds and sea salt in a food processor until very fine. Squeeze out any excess moisture from the grated carrot then add with the garlic, lemon, spices and ground flax seeds.
·         Process all the mixture till smooth, adding a little water as you go if the mixture is clogging up.
·         Finally, add the fresh coriander and pulse once or twice to combine.
·         Shape the mixture into twelve small patties.
·         At this point, to maintain a 'Raw' diet, you would dehydrate at 115 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 hours, turning once through.
·         If you don't mind baking them, then place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes turning about half way through until golden brown on both sides.
·         Top with the tahini sauce and serve in flat bread with tabbouleh. 

Tip: The falafels can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, both dehydrated and baked, for up to four days. They can also be frozen.

Tip: You can also make the mixture ahead, refrigerate overnight and cook the next day.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad 

Instead of the usual couscous, try using cooked quinoa, which works as brilliantly and adds a nutty flavour and texture to the tabbouleh. Make the dressing or add your own touch.

You will need (serves 4):
·         200g Quinoa, or use the cooked packet version such as Merchant Gourmet or Food Doctor
·         half tsp salt
·         large handful fresh coriander – chopped large handful fresh mint, leaves only, chopped
·         8 baby plum tomatoes, halved lengthways
·         1 pointed red pepper, diced
·         2 small or half a large cucumber, grated and all the water squeezed out 5 spring onions, thinly sliced in diagonals
·         half pomegranate, kernels only 

For the dressing:
·         2 tbsp lemon juice 4-6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil fresh ground black pepper and sea salt
·         1 tsp French mustard, plain or wholegrain 

·         Place a tbsp olive oil in a saucepan and fry the quinoa until it lightly browns and you get a nutty aroma. Then following the packet instructions, cook in the usual way. Once cooked, transfer to a large salad bowl to completely cool.
·         Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients, or place in a jar or bottle and give it a good shake!
·         When the quinoa has cooled completely, fluff with a fork to loosen the grains then add in all the other salad ingredients. Mix through – Add the dressing to taste
·         Tip: This is great served with a drizzle of strained yogurt, tahini and falafels or your favourite meat dish. 

Turkish style flat bread 

If you ever wanted to make your own flat bread then here's a simple recipe to get you started. Serve with your favourite salad and meat or vegetarian dish.

You will need:
·         225g strong unbleached white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
·         50g strong wholemeal bread flour
·         1 sachet easy bake yeast (about 7g)
·         1 tsp sea salt
·         1 tbsp olive oil or melted butter
·         1 tbsp natural yogurt
·         about 200ml lukewarm water to make a soft dough 

·         Sift the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre
·         Pour in the oil and yogurt, then start adding the water. Using your hand, draw the flour in from the sides, forming the mixture into a dough, add a little extra water if necessary
·         Knead the dough on a very lightly floured work surface for about 5 minutes
·         Divide the dough into eight pieces, and then you could divide each ball into 2 pieces if you want to make smaller ones. Knead each piece and form into balls
·         Place to the side on a lightly floured surface or tray and cover with a tea towel, leave to rest for about 30 minutes
·         Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into thin, flat rounds, about 6 inches in diameter or smaller if you're making more than 4.
·         Heat a griddle or flat frying pan and wipe with a little oil until almost smoking hot
·         Cook each flat round separately, for about a minute or two on each side till lightly golden browned and each bread has puffed up/buckled slightly 
·         Pile them up one by one, keeping covered with a tea towel as you fry the rest 

Tip: You can make one or two large breads and bake in the oven or up to 24 small individual ones to cook on the griddle and they work well served hot or cold but keep wrapped in a tea towel if serving later.

Tip: The Tahini dip will keep for a week in the fridge stored in a jar.