Sep 25, 2012

No-one to Bestow by Emma Scutt

A week after the trail has ended, thinking about Emma Scutt's installation at St. Barnabas still makes my stomach tighten up. It was such a powerful piece on a subject and theme that is never tackled but is a weight on so many shoulders. There are portraits that match up to the incredibly intimate stories Emma collected of responses to the want of children, an ideal that we assume as natural to the human life-cycle, but these stories share a horizon of views, tragic to empowering and contentment to conditioning, it really was powerful!

This incredible intimacy takes on a new perception too as she invited anyone to anonymously contribute their stories and hang it up creating this washing line of released secrets and emotions and as you walk and read there is a perception stopping tic from the static clock. I hope you got to catch it and all the other delights at St. Barnabas!

Sep 20, 2012

Abstraction and Ceramics at the Water's Edge (no.31)

Right down on marshes I stumbled on this real gem of a exhibition. I hope everyone got a chance to see it. In the front garden is big, ticking, constantly in motion installation by artist Paul Cates, documenting age and how and where satisfaction is in relation. It was a very interesting project, although I didn't catch any of the 2 hour change overs. Round the back were these gorgeous and striking cracked and reconstructed mosaics by Steph Baxter, a fire place of tiles is a rather hooking sight! Her work fitted ideally with the wonderful backdrop of the lake and a serine and calm vibe.   

Inside the house however was my favourite part of the exhibition, and one of the surprise highlights of the trail. You never quite know what to expect when wondering into an open house, but here Paul takes up two rooms exhibiting these really expressive and unstructured canvases. He has been painting for years as a relief, enjoyment and to tell stories and this is the first time exhibited, and it was a real treat. It has the wonderful sincere naivety you get in the best of outside art, and talking to Paul about each painting was as interesting as the work! He was honest and direct about the meaning behind each one, whether it was the atmosphere of a pub or the elderly couple he sees everyday at work. Great work and I hope he exhibits again!


Sep 18, 2012

Photographs from Japan & Dance from the Middle East and

Photographs from Japan (no.175)
It was a pleasure to meet Paula Smith, because I am sure everyone has met new neighbours on this years trail! Her work she had up were photographs that really blurred the lines between documentation and expression of a recent trip to Japan.

On one level her photographs present a wonderful collage of the Japanese urban and country landscapes, but she holds her camera further and captures in each photo an expression and a feeling, so it is not just a collage of landscape, but a collage of atmosphere.

Egyptian Dance Costumes - Past and Present (no.87)
The variety of this years trail has been so great, I have seen more mediums walking the trail than walking through the South Bank during the olympics and this exhibition is a wonderful example. It was a combination of not just performance, but also an eye-opening display on the development of Middle-Eastern dance. I mean, it is very popular form 'belly-dancing' but who actually knows about the different styles, and how those styles developed through the different cultures and how they collaged with each other. 

The open house was filled with all sorts of costumes from Bedwin to Coptic Christian, and Zara, who organized it all, made clear all the reasons for each costume and how they are used. It was really interesting to hear how the degrees of modesty and explicitness in each culture effected and sculpted each type of dance and how the dance evolved by borrowing from other cultures and bringing it into various ways of life. It was nice to hear it from someone was so passionate about it too.

At 4 o'clock in the garden music would start, the sun comes out and an audience appears for performances of all the varied styles. There was a wicked vibe with everyone all ages enjoying and smiling and it ends in everyone shakin' their hips and joining in!

Sep 16, 2012

And the Trail has Ended...Almost

It has been such a buzzing two weeks and a bit full of bright visual vibes, dynamic sounds, crafted textures and even edible smells. It really has been a trail so diverse that it not only filled every one of your senses but I must have seen every medium that art can come in, from really traditional to the experimental and even brand new technological forms. Walthamstow really was bestowed with the fruits of all its creative residents turned inside out.

All the months and months of planning, grafting and organazizing from Laura, Chris, Morag and everyone else who helped putting all the pieces together can reap the rewards and everyone who has taken part can be so proud to be involved in such a unique and diverse huge community art project. However it has been so big this year that seeing it all was pretty much impossible, even if you were totally free, seeing 50% of it would be fantastic, because each exhibition is so welcoming you end up spending a lot longer in each venue! And if you were working or had exhibitions yourselves, you would be lucky if you got to see 30% of the trail, so hopefully this blog can act as a zeitgeist for the trail, a snippet of many exhibitions and events so you can catch up with all you missed.

Kate, Valerie and I have been uploading our little (and big!) reviews, pictures and images through the trail to keep you updated, and even though the trail is now over, the blog still has some life left in it. So keep following it this week for more snippets and exhibition reviews, to see things you missed out on and find things you wish you had seen.

ALSO  Send in your own reviews, images and trail experiences. Share exhibitions that made you smile, really moved you, inspired you or even something you didn't particularly like. 
Send any Guest Blog Entry's too

Exquisite Art, Experimental Sculpture & Delicious Crafts

Landscapes and Much More - Group Show (no.170)
A really great show featuring a bunch of really different artists and work, I really enjoyed visiting this venue and I wish I could have spent longer chatting to the artists and soaking in their lovely garden sunshine but the life of a blogger on the last weekend is like Damselfly. Firstly artist Alison Chaplin opens her studio to her more recent ventures into work inspired by our local Epping Forest.

Her paintings are so rich and vivid and have an incredible depth of field. She has really captured that sense of being covered by Epping Forest from all the concrete and smoke of East London. Because it is her open studio, you can also see plenty of her other work such as her portraits and even more commercial and sharp commissions.

Round the back of the garden is a collection of work from artists Beryl Caiger, Paula Caiger and ceramic sculptor Gill Roberts. The work is really cosy and oozes a real warm, crafted glow.

The final artist on show is Rob Lovell, his paintings which he still calls as still developing and expanding are sharp, abstract structures that you can unravel and connect with. They are greatly inspired by the early works of Peter Lanyon as well as to an extent the reproducing of landscape through psychogeography. I really like his style of painting and if he is continuing to develop it I really forward to following!

BGB Presents Sculptures at Cupboardy Mansion (no.134)
Really expressive and physical sculptures that are full presence and process. It is a real mix too and just from having a quick look, I could over hear others each picking out there own personal favourite.

Chapel End Arts & Crafts Association (no.96) 
Photography to weave to the best damn brownies I have ever tasted. The artists and crafters who have their stalls up here are the real place to get some essential Walthamstow gifts, for others and for yourself. My eyes were instantly glued to 'Fish Knits' intricate and skilled ceramic mosaics.

This last Sunday in fact there is a touch of end trail festivities happening here too, from 5pm til 10pm there will be activities for children and a little get together over a drink, some crafts and again I will say, the best brownies I have ever tasted!

Broken Bees, Bugs & Birds. Drawings by Sarah Hardy (no.38)
If you have been to Arts & Crusts you would have seen Sarah's sweet cake of decay in her sugar sculpture of insects and fruit and her wonderful hand drawn wallpaper.

Here she opens her studio space, her individual drawings of death and decay. It is interesting because she was saying how she didn't realize the scale difference between her individual drawings and the scale of those on the wallpaper which is smaller. Somehow smaller, because the intricate detail in her individual pencil drawings are so fine that the wallpaper must have been an incredible task to take out. You can also see alongside her drawings, her collection of dead and withered insects and amphibians that she will be capturing through her pencils. 

Experimental Ceramic Works by Amanda Doidge (no.117)
In these very recent sculptures that are displayed in Amanda's studio space, they walk on a fine line between organic and mechanical. She has been exploring themes of change, metamorphosis, transformation and how these occur whether through force or natural order.  
There are parts where that change is forced and there is a quite aggressive aesthetic, but there are others were tensions are created by natural physics and it looks like it is sprouting organically.

These ceramic sculptures are ones to be looked at for a while and the more you think about it, the more meaning you can conjure up, and this constant transformation of meaning is possibly the sculptures most important success in exploring change.

Henrietta Lynch - your one a day....

Henrietta's project is ongoing daily throughout the trail.  We will update this post as the trail progresses so that the whole project is represented: 

Final installation on September 16th - in front of the hoardings surrounding the EMD cinema.

William Morris - 'so long as the system of competition in the production and exchange of life goes on, the degradation of the arts will go on...' (I added the question mark)

September 15th - Outside the William Morris Gallery

William Morris - 'The past is not dead it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make'

After keeping us in suspense for a few days, Installation 10 is in now in place.
September 14th - Outside the EMD Cinema. 
Hitchcock - 'The more successful the villain the more successful the picture'

September 9th - Today's piece is in place outside the Bell pub on Forest Road
William Morris - 'The secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in the details of daily life'

 September 7th - On  Forest Road near the William Morris gallery
After Morris - 'useful and beautiful'

September 6th - Corner of Hatherley Mews/BetFred Hoe Street
William Morris - 'Give me love and work, these two only'

September 6th - Outside the Rose and Crown on Hoe Street
Hitchcock - 'Drama is life with the dull bits cut out'

September 5th - Hoe Street
Gil Scott Heron - 'The revolution will not be televised'

September 4th - outside the EMD cinema

Hitchcock - 'Always make the audience suffer as much as possible...'

September 3rd - Outside Walthamstow Bus Station
WBus Station 03 Sept 2012.JPG

September 2nd - Outside the William Morris galllery 
WMG 02 Sept 2012.JPG
Morris - 'I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few'

September 1st - outside the EMD cinema 
EMD 01 Sept 2012.JPG
Hitchcock - 'For me Cinema is not a slice of life but a piece of cake'

Sep 15, 2012

Waltham Forest Cycling Tours

The last day of the Art Trail is actually here. There will be lots of people burning their sneakers to try cram in as much art as they can before it all gets turned back outside in. There is a dilemma however, what do you see on your last day!? Well if you can, plan by using the guide and the blog but wouldn't it be great to have a route all planned out for you? Well this last Sunday there is one of the guided bike tours by Waltham Forest Cyclists to take you round and about to venues all over the trail.

They are great for anyone who isn't too sure on what to visit or you can hop on and weave it into your own plans to see even more than you thought! Check out their blog to see what the last couple of tours were like and the trail through cyclists' eyes.

The guided tour will be departing from Walthamstow Library at 1pm.

Open House Strategies

Guest Post by Duncan Holmes
"Visitors are usually hesitant with open house exhibitions, but everyone who has one on the Trail will welcome you with open arms and a cup of tea..." That's Hassan, improvising wildly at the beginning of his amazingly energetic stint as the official Art Trail blogger. 

The open house shows on the Art Trail are often my favourite, combining the actual exhibition with fascinating glimpses of other people's lives. It does help to have a space right by the front door, straight off the street, but you see all sorts of ingenious alternatives: the hedge or fence used as display space, studios that you get to through the garden, or simply doors kept open and a sign saying 'this way'. For a proper gallery feel you need to be able to walk in, dismiss the whole thing instantly and walk out without feeling awkward, if that what you think it merits.

This is the third year we've opened our house for a show on the Art Trail and a lot of the effort that goes into doing that, apart from the art, is to make sure it isn't like invading someone's house. The strategy is simple: take down the curtains so you can see inside, leave the front door wide open all day, put posters and at least one bit of art right in the entrance lobby where people can start looking before they even cross the threshold. And then, be available but clearly occupied doing something so people don't feel like they have to talk. Visitors nearly always do want to talk but not necessarily right away. So hopefully Hassan isn't entirely right... 

The first year, I tried moving out all the furniture, shifted everything around and eventually gave up and put most of it back where it was originally. So we've realised we can actually move very little and still free up enough wall space. Putting up pictures without ruining the decorations is a challenge. Blu-tack works reasonably and it does come off if you don't leave it too long, which was the mistake I made the first time: flakes of paint pulled off because we left everything up for several weeks and it went rock hard. In hot weather of course it tends to go soft and things fall off the walls. 

You're tied to the house all day, sit around playing music and writing emails, which is relaxing but means missing all the other shows. Sometimes nobody at all turns up for long periods, especially in the morning. My theory is that as soon as I slip out to see another show, leaving one of the family in charge, then masses of visitors turn up all at once. You do wonder who may turn up but it does tend to be bona fide art trailers. The Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign bike ride turned up last Sunday and it was standing room only, briefly, as 18 cyclists parked their bikes and piled inside. A bunch of local kids came in, youngsters with a teenage boy in charge, but he's a neighbour and they looked at the pictures, asked questions and spotted the street outside their school, all very polite. That's been one of the pleasures of showing photos of Walthamstow, having people come in and debate about recognising things.

Venue 11 - Walthamstow in Perspective is open on Sunday, the last day of the Art Trail.

The Garden Studios of 15 Upper Walthamstow Road (no.171)

Last weekend, 15 Upper Walthamstow Road opened up their lovely garden studio with elderflower cordial and some equally refreshing art. ans artist Sharon Drew opened her studio space up for an exhibition of new works. Sharon's paintings are abstract large-scale acrylic canvases that are full of structured light and in my opinion really capture the effect light has on all your senses.

Her paintings are influenced by frequent trips she makes from the contrasting landscapes of East London to West Cornwall - the contrasting tones, dynamics and  colours of both glued together with light. I can particularly relate to these pieces because the contrasting landscape of Cornwall and East London is one I am familiar with and I really think Sharon's work has captured something here. The light in Cornwall really is like nothing that can be seen in East London, it is gentle on the eyes, soft and deep in form, but there is a energetic neon flow from London that creates quick and striking slashes of light into eye.

Sharon's paintings are actually also featuring in a film by film-maker Barry Bliss' whose film 'Art is' will be released this Autumn. Her painting will be one of those of the characters, a struggling artist trying to cope with the pressures of her first solo show.

I really like Sharon's work and I really recommend visiting!

Sharon's studio is adjoined with artist Mark Sowden's studio which is open too. However, last weekend it was guest housing work from graphic designer Amy McSimpson. Her exhibition entitled 'Pictures from a Story yet to be Written' was a really serene and slightly surreal experience. There are snippets of narratives from stories that are still in development, or with endings, or without beginnings but what Amy captures in just one frame is character and tone set side by side creating their own whimsical jumbled narrative.

This weekend Mark Sowden will be exhibiting his experiments between photograph and sculpture in his studio alongside Sharon Drew's exhibition. Go Visit!

Sep 14, 2012

Ubuntu Arts

By Kate Rolison
A couple of days ago I popped into Harmony Hall to take a peek at the Ubuntu Arts exhibition. Ubuntu is a collective and facility for people in Walthamstow and the wider local area who suffer from mental ill health. Having had my own brushes with mental illness in the past, I know how vital creativity is in getting people through what can be a dark and downright terrifying time in their lives.  And well, I was curious! Due to their insights into their own personal struggles, people suffering from mental ill health often produce very exciting and engaging art which can resonate with many people, whatever their mental state.

The art on display at Harmony Hall is certainly exciting and engaging, and full of energy. There's a real depth and breadth of styles on show, from portraiture to landscape to kinetic abstract drawings. There's been a real push recently, even on a governmental level, to break down some of the barriers and stigma which mentally ill people struggle with and fight every day. The exhibition Ubuntu Arts have put on is solid proof that despite our difficulties, we can achieve great (and beautiful) things.

Ubabtu Art's exhibition is no.63 in the guide.

Rachel's Darkroom

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
This year I am showing a collection of pinhole photography, from mainly homemade cameras, under the title Pinhole Parade which follows on from The Victorian Teapot and Other Cameras at The Changing Room Gallery in 2009.  The work includes paper negatives, solarized prints, how these images have been incorporated into new darkroom prints and of course new cameras!  I also have a guest pinholer-Natalie Keymist who is showing her Angels project and camera.

2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?
I am a veteran! Rachel’s Darkroom is very proud to be a bronze sponsor again this year.

3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
Turning my messy workspace into a welcoming exhibition! Where does the time go?? Panic stations on the Friday as usual, my daughter pitched in this year with the grand tidy.

4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
I started buying photography books in my teens, and was a member of a postal book club- I still have most of the books.  The first expensive book I bought was Transformations by Joyce Tennyson, an American photographer, I saw it in a book shop in Leeds and spent most of my birthday money on it as I was blown away.  The images are beautiful and mysterious, with a nostalgic feel.

5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
I love the fact the trail is so inclusive, I feel the open attitude of the trailers has given more people confidence to show work.  My favourite image this trail is in Gifted at The Mill, a young boys painting of a toucan- I tried to buy it but its not for sale.  The energy and pure joy of the image is very uplifting.

6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
E17 has bestowed many good friends.

Pinhole Parade is open 15th and 16th September 12-7pm at Rachel’sDarkroom, Inky Cuttlefish Studios, no 10 on map


By Kate Rolison
Last night I  had the pleasant experience of attending one of Significant Seams' many events in this year's Art Trail, the first "Awesomestow" Christine's Tomato Jam Stitch-In with Oxfam and the Craftivist Collective. The event was, if not a roaring, then certainly a contentedly purring success, and very exclusive indeed! Local movers, shakers, and makers were invited along, to drum up support for and interest in the project.

The stitch-ins are inspired by the story of Christine, a Kenyan woman who makes and sells tomato jam to support her local community. Tomatoes are a fairly drought-resistant fruit, and thus easily grown in Christine's home town near Nairobi. 

In this spirit, craftivists all over the country (and the world!) are coming together to stitch messages about the food crisis on to jam jar labels. These jars will then be filled with tomato jam following Christine's own recipe, and passed on to people in positions of power, or businesses which are able to call (or shout) for change.

Sarah Corbett, founder and leader of the UK's Craftivist Collective, was on hand to guide us in our stitching, and lead discussion on the issues surrounding the world food crisis. It was fascinating and often deeply unsettling food for thought (pun intended). It's certainly inspired me to educate myself so that I can make more informed choices about how and where I eat.

It wasn't a sombre evening in the slightest, though; there was plenty of tea, and a few tomato jam sandwiches for each of us!

Yes, you read right; tomato jam sandwiches. They were surprisingly moreish. The general consensus was that the jam was closest to plum than any other fruit.

We were hosted by Walthamstow's gorgeous Arts & Crusts cafĂ©, who provided us with a wonderfully DIY outdoor space, which was festooned with Craftivist Collective and Significant Seams quilts and bunting.


My role for the evening was to Tweet (via Sarah's iPhone... I've yet to invest in one myself) all the happenings, and I think I did a pretty good job! Got some nice "soundbites", for example:

And my personal favourite, for obvious reasons:

 It's so exciting that Walthamstowians (?) are going to be so deeply involved in this project. I can't wait!

Sarah Pelham, Oxfam London/South East's current intern, was on hand to snap and film us throughout proceedings, and took this rather nice shot for me to Tweet:

 Significant Seams is holding fifteen further Stitch-Ins until mid-October. The first is next Wednesday at the Significant Seams Hub in Wood Street Indoor Market, and I'm hosting! Come along between 10 and 5, have a stitch, a chat, and I'm sure you'll learn a lot more than just how to sew. See you there,


Made in Stow

Oxfame (no.26)
Sitting on top of Walthamstow's High Street rooftops is a lovely little tucked away concrete garden that just shines in the sun and right now is home to a gallery of found quirky, up-cycled vibes and teddy bear stamps. Brought together by Art Catcher, Oxfame is an exhibition containing work from over 20 artists from Walthamstow and beyond, all grasping at findings from their local charity shops.

It is a really charming exhibition which will definitely have you smiling and staring whether it is at the umbrella crows or warped vinyl of Jason Donovan in a cage.

Do try and visit this weekend, it is just off a side road by the International Supermarket, Flat 3, 1 Petoria Avenue. Go get some sweet art!

Four in the Garden (no.72)
Unfortunately this had its last days on the trail already. It was quite an interesting exhibition of 4 artists all using different mediums and exploring different themes. In fact the 4 have always worked together but this is the first time they exhibited alongside each other. The two artists that really stood out for me here were Tom Scott and his sound installations and Eugene Coil with his experiment into 'night paintings'.

Tom Scott's installation was something he called 'Soundwalking'. Mapped along Lee Valley nature reserve it contrasts the landscape of city and serene habitat by capturing each boundary's own acoustic image. Eugene Coil's drawings and paintings both stem from his recent ventures in to 'night drawing'. It interesting how drawing at night creates and influences the artists own representation of colour and form.

Tom is actually thinking of starting up a 'night drawing' class, so if you are interested contact him:

Made in Stow (no.21)
Peep through the letterbox on 60 Buxton Road and playing on screen are some familiar films...made even more familiar. Grab yourself some popcorn and a drink before you visit and watch 'Dawn of the Dead' unfold in it's original location, Selbourne Walk.

E17 Art House (no.77)
Alongside the Magnificent Magical Drawing Machine that is set up weekends, the E17 Art House actually has 2 great exhibitions up too. Kirsten Schmidt has her wonderful prints, drawings and paintings of birds and all sorts of delightful creatures in her exhibition, 'The Magic Flute'. The colour and technique in her work creates such a light and delicate feel, and these wonderful drawings feel like at any point they can come to life and fly away. Kirsten also has a wonderful piece up at St. Barnabas too, with her free form creatures exploring religion and philosophy.

The other artist exhibiting here is illustrator Robert Ball bringing his locally charmed project 'East 17x17'. His series of bright and sharp snapshots of Walthamstow life really captures the energetic and kinetic cultural vibe that the area always has in its public spaces. Do try and catch it before the trail is up!

Sep 13, 2012

From Oil to Acrylic to...Lego

Jane Elliott and Ruth Lukom On Paper and Canvas (no.160)
Ruth Lukom, a very rehearsed portrait artist displays her recent experiments with technological and medium distortion with portraits taken from film and television stills. It is really interesting to see some of the ways light and texture become manipulated and affected.  Also, you can see the artist's other work alongside, more restrained portraits, but very well produced. I particularly liked the individual portraits on tile. Oil paint on that kind of surface created a really flat and precise matt finish.

Jane Elliott's work was a wandering breeze of colour, freedom and expression. There are narratives in the paintings, but these narratives are shrouded in the loose brush strokes and leaking rich colour. I was very impressed by the work and then I found out the artist Jane Elliott had passed away earlier this year. Her planned exhibition evolved into a presentation of work from various times in her life, and it is work that deserves to be celebrated and never forgotten by her family and friends. 

I do recommend visiting, Jane's work is a real visual treat and the gravitas of the exhibition does make it rather moving. Through seeing her work, whether you knew her or you didn't, you will feel she will be dearly missed.

Barclay Road Abstractions 3 (no.156)
Artist Saskia Huning displayed a real variety of work through mediums in her open house exhibition. From her abstract paintings of swipes of colour to her gilded sculptures, there was a lot to appreciate. What really got my attention though was her large scale, hand-painted print on one of the walls in her home. It is very interesting how it actually changes the dynamic of the room, and it is a project she hopes to do on every wall in her home! Unfortunately last weekend was the last time she was open, but when you visit next year there will be another wall painted too.

White by Andrea Humphries (no.158)
There is a really fine and wonderful balance and composition in Andrea's paintings. Using a really gentle and neutral colour balance Andrea has presented a series of paintings that transport abstract narratives through vessels in a very literal way.

Andrea opens her home only one more day, this Saturday (15th), work worth seeing, oh and it is one of the most welcoming houses I have been too!

What will you take with you? Leave Behind? (no.43)
Quite a lot of different work on display by artist Jo, all circulating around a project she started exploring the idea of beauty in society and how this idea changes through cultures and lifestyles. There were video installations and photographs but what caught my eye were the arrange sculptures/installations. It was almost like a domestic Andy Goldsworthy but instead of nature to manipulate, she manipulated household items to create meaning.

We Love Lego (no.99)

During the Art Trail you stumble across people's hobbies and through those hobbies completely new mediums of art and what can be classed as it. Here Richard Selby shares his hobby and passion for Lego in a really fun and interesting way. It was a great exhibition for kids and adults alike and I did end up seeing Lego through new eyes!

I did quite like the structures that Richard made by using the flexibility and architecture of Lego to create these spirals and abstract shapes. It is a shame that the exhibition won't be on again this trail, so enjoy the pictures and maybe go get yourself a set of Lego and have some fun!