May 31, 2014

Get Ready... Swinging Artists' Reception opens the Art Trail 2014

Overwhelming levels of positivity were sweeping through the garden of Vestry House for the Artists’ Reception yesterday evening. All the guests had been frantically hanging, framing and arranging in preparation for the weekend. Having spoken to a number of artists and organisers, I can guarantee there are so many exciting things in store for anyone who ventures to E17 over the next couple of weeks. Instead of reading this, go and check them out!

However, I will carry on..

The evening began with Anna Skodbo singing and playing the harp - beautiful music to take in the surroundings. 

After everyone had chatted, eaten and drunk, Laura Kerry from Artillery gave an E17 Art Trail welcome and in her incredibly modest style gave thanks to all those involved in making this the tenth E17 Art Trail. Her and partner Chris set up the trail (a one day event, ten years ago). She read a letter from friend and colleague Morag McGurie expressing her sentiments about the 2014 Art Trail being a real milestone that was still growing in momentum and support and excluding the paragraph she knew would make her tearful. Morag then emerged from the audience, stating that it is not just the two weeks that are important, but the legacy that continues throughout the year. A presentation was then made to Laura for Aura Rosa Bakery from all the artists involved - something for post-trail recovery!

Paula Van Hagen, who joined the Art Trail team this year as Curator, was warmly thanked for absorbing the spirit of the event so quickly.

The speeches were followed by Khaled Hakim’s Sufi drumming and singing. The first song he played was ‘Keeping on the Path’, which he related to the struggle of artists, especially those related to funding and health and safety. Next, the audience kept the beat by chanting the Arabic word for 'living' in a metronomic beat, while Khaled sang and drummed over it. 

Terpsikhore Mime followed, performing various ways of killing each other after which the crowd got involved by learning the Lambeth walk. For Spotify users, it sounded a bit like this (excuse the picture - the E17 Art Trail does not approve of under-age drinking!)

In the spirit of ‘swept up in the moment’, I will spare the participants by not including video.

Along with the food, donation bar and ‘make your own’ accessories stand (evidenced by the unusual collection of burly men wearing dainty hats), there was a tombola with wonderful prizes donated by the artists in attendance. Towards the end of evening, the remaining prizes were auctioned off by Stella Creasy MP who had arrived to show her continuing support to the Art Trail. 

The most coveted prize was a pineapple ice bucket complete with matching coasters. When it came to this Stella proclaimed, ‘Any of those Stokies who want to make it big in Walthamstow, this is your chance!’, and after a slight lull in the bidding, ‘C’mon, it's got Dean Martin written all over it!’.

I believe it went for £35, which, having just checked on Ebay, seems like a good deal (if you’re interested, £50 with no coasters).

These are some other very happy customers who successfully bid on a sculpture of encase gold painted toy soldiers by Wendy MacMillan.

Thinking about the evening, it was overwhelming how much talent and enthusiasm has gone into the E17 Art Trail 2014, so I say make as much of it as you can. Meet new people, be amazed by artworks and dance to unexpected tunes!


I Love Clay by Judi Leddy

I am showing the ceramics I have made during the last 3 years at the ceramics evening class I have attended. These range from the first pot I made, my later experiments (some quite dodgy), to the latest piece that came out of the kiln last week. I am also showing paintings that I have done at evening classes during the same period. 

Listing no.153 in the guide: Click here for more information

Guayaquil and the Squatters - Equadorian Monoprints at the Rose & Crown

Could you tell us about the work you will be showing during this year's E17 Art Trail?
The work that I produced for this E17 Art Trail started in Ecuador almost a year ago on my Artist in Residence at the Walterio Paez printmaking workshop. The title of the exhibition at the Rose and Crown is “Guayaquil and the Squatters”.

Guayaquil, my city, is very noisy, hot and vibrant. It has a community full of music and friendly people. However, if you leave something unattended it will disappear very quickly, I guess like in any other place. My family has some land that was overlooked after my Father's death. When I went to visit it a year ago, I found that somebody else claiming to be the owner was squatting on our land. I hate fights and confrontation, but I had to put up with this unpleasant situation and deal with it. I had to go through loops of bureaucracy, walk miles up and down from solicitors to lawyers, visit several public institutions registering and making payments to be able to prove that it was ours.

I am used to doing everything by myself, but I had to ask for help. I received it from people I would not have imagined. I had to learn new skills to deal with this new situation and discovered a lot more about family and friends. In the end, we won the case. Even though it was a nightmare, I came through it and now I really appreciate the value of the land and how important it is to take care of it.

My monoprints bear witness to this process. They reflect my fears, my learning, the places I went, the people I met on the way and the experience I gained. As you can see they store the colours, warmth and the spirit of my Ecuador.

How have you been preparing for this year's trail?
I got commissioned by Bestowed Kitchen to create an “art surprise” for their lunch boxes during the E17 Art Trail. I thought it was a very good idea, because most of the time you are so busy looking around that you end up having something not very nutritious. With the lunch boxes you get a delicious meal plus a screen print and a hand painted  limited edition print with an image from my exhibition “Guayaquil and Squatters”.

How does inhabiting a community like Walthamstow help your practice?  

Lots of my friends take part in the E17 Art Trail, it feels like a big family party. It is a great environment for creative people and if you are not one of them, you get inspired by the activities and shows that are all around Walthamstow. I feel very lucky to be in Walthamstow and having the opportunity of showing and more importantly sharing my work.

Listing no.88 in the guide: Click here for more information

Show Something Else - Group Show at Howard Road Open House

Could you tell us about the work you will be showing during this year's E17 Art Trail?
Our exhibition features the work of about seventeen artists. They're all people we've worked with, studied with, lived with or just randomly met!  We have artists, illustrators, designers, makers, photographers and a guy in a monster costume...This is the website we threw together for the show: which has more info about the exhibitors etc.

How have you been preparing for this year's trail? 
Mostly just dealing with the logistics of getting work from that many people! Artists aren't typically the most organised types... Also due to the sheer volume of work to put up there was a lot of pre-planning of how to arrange it through our flat. We spent a fair few hours wandering up and down the  flat carrying piles of prints playing artwork tetris...

What are you most looking forward to during the E17 Art Trail this year ? 
Meeting other creatives in the community! Our preview night was brilliant and it was a great chance to meet some of the neighbours we've never bumped into before. 

Listing No. 92 in the guide: click here for more information 

Photos from Penny Dampier at Pfuit! preview



Ready-made industrial art amongst the racks of second hand clothes... A DJ playing The Libertines... Oxfam was transformed on Thursday night at the preview of Pfuit! The work is really interesting and beautiful. - Penny

Listing no.61 in the guide: Click here for more information

Photos from Penny Dampier at WUDA-WASA preview

A fantastic, quirky place with really cool art from Walden artists and special guests. The preview night was fun and friendly with liquid refreshment in the form of Spike's own home-brewed cider. The press he used is in the garden! The cider was delicious and the work was funny, clever and beautifully made.

Eat the Art Trail Post: Buzzing launch party with baked treats!

The E17 Arts Trail launch party last night was in full swing when I arrived - and it seemed I had arrived just in time! As you would expect from your resident food blogger, I made a bee line straight for the food table where I had just enough time to admire the creativity of Aura Rosa's specially made cupcakes before the final one was snaffled!

Especially decorated for the Launch Party
Final cupcake left, going...

The generous spread was donated by Honey and Thyme ( and Aura Rosa ( Skye from Honey and Thyme lined stomachs with some protein and carbs in the form of fragrant chicken skewers, curry and delicate star canap├ęs.

Spiced chicken skewers with guacamole
Tasty little stars
Aura Rosa’s cupcakes nicely loaded the revellers with a sugar rush for the evening activities, which as you expected were creative, musical and artistic. Here's me with my pink and fluffy headband creation!
Quite restrained in comparison with other people's creations with feathers and lights!
The evening concluded with a bustling auction for the final iconic items from the tombola. These included two tasty treasures. The first: another beautifully decorated cake, this time by Tudor Cakes. This was won by a plucky 5 year old for a princely £22, thanks to Mummy for the pocket money advance!

Another talented cake maker, Tudor Cakes
The second was a retro and now ever-so-on-trend pineapple cooler with complementary coasters. I had been told that it had garnered a lot of interest throughout the night. This was evident by it's handsome £35 winning price.  

Star prize of the evening

Coasters inside, also escaped the tombola for the starlight of a live auction
If pineapples are also your thing and you're green tinged with envy, remember there's a whole day dedicated to the tangy regal fruit: and follow @E17pineapple who may be able to give tips on where to find more pineapple paraphernalia.

For other edible events coming up at E17 Arts Trail, have a look at the following links including an article in the local Guardian:
I will be updating my experiences as I go along. I'm currently particularly looking forward to the Kids' Kitchen with Artillery's very own Rebecca ( who wrote a post earlier this week to tantalise your tots' tastebuds.

Also I'm getting excited about Cocomera's supper club ( by doing a pre-interview with Silvana Gambini later this week. Silvana was kind enough, along with others, to donate a prize to the tombola, a very lucky person who got that prize!

Until next time, have fun on the Arts trail - Natasha

Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill

Could you tell us about the work you will be showing during this year's E17 Art Trail?
This is my first time exhibiting at the Art Trail and I will be selling copies of my recently published book, Home for Now (, at a special show price of £15. As the book is aimed at renters and first-time buyers looking for easy, inexpensive ways to transform their house into a home, all without upsetting their landlord or making big changes to the space, it seemed to fit quite well with the Inhabit theme. I will be displaying a few of the styling ideas I feature within the book, and will be on hand to offer interiors advice for anyone also looking to spruce up their place! I'm also running a competition to win a signed copy of the book, plus a goodie bag full of lovely home-for-now-friendly bounty (the contents of which can be seen in this blog post, from a previous competition I ran online).  

How have you been preparing for this year's trail? 
I held a launch party for my book a month ago (which you can read about here), which was good practice for the Art Trail. I am adapting what I did there to suit my new pop-up location.

Could you tell us about an an artist/ artwork that  particularly inspires you? 
I am a bit too much of a magpie to choose any one particular artist or piece; mainly I am inspired by individuals who have managed to create something new and innovative, and creatives who have a passion for their work and a twinkle in their eye when they talk about it. I'm also a big fan of crafts so I love being able to see the hand of the maker within a piece, whether that be a faint pencil line within a painting, the individuality of a multi-layered screen-print or even happy accidents - when I visited my venue host's (Kiln Arts) home workshop, I was particularly taken with his "frustrated potter" pieces - the ceramics that had gone awry during the firing process - which had created some stunning shapes and glazes that would be impossible to recreate, therefore making them unique and turning them into sculptures in their own right.

How does inhabiting a community like Walthamstow help your practice?  
I work from home in Walthamstow and wrote the book here (and also featured several properties within it from neighbouring borough, Hackney). Having moved here just over two years ago and not knowing a soul, it's been such a pleasure to meet so many like-minded designers, artists, journalists and generally-creative-types also living here, many of whom, having initially met through Twitter (, have gone on to become real-life friends. Having that shared local connection makes it extra-special when working with people in my 'day job' as a freelance interiors stylist and writer - I have featured the work of several local designers in magazine photoshoots I've produced, including Room39, Jonathan Maker  and Etoile Home, and have also obtained some press coverage of my own for my book, thanks to my Walthamstow journalist friends.

What are you most looking forward to during the E17 Art Trail this year? 

This year I'm looking forward to exploring the different districts with ease, thanks to the new layout of the guide, which I think will be a real help and stop it feeling so overwhelming! As I will be spending much of the trail at my location, which is in the Markhouse area, I'm hoping particularly to pop out and about to some of the venues closest to me during any quiet moments. I'm also really looking forward to visiting the Blackhorse Studios, which are very near my own home - it's great to have such an interesting venue nearly on your doorstep!

Listing no.85 in the guide: Click here for more information

May 30, 2014

Preview of 15 Day Forest 56 St James St

Jungle juice was flowing and the foliage was starting to grow... Great little venue, exciting, interactive art and tasty nibbles on the preview night...

Forest - Day 1

Click here to find out more about the 15 Day Forest at 56 St James Street 

Guest Blog: Art Trail Volunter Lynda Bailey Takes a Preview Tour

Wow, what a night!

I was in the first wave of Art Trail Volunteer ambassadors to leave Art Trail central at its office in The Mill at Coppermill Lane. We donned our Art Trail T- shirts and bags full of Trail guides and badges and, after a few photos taken rather precariously on the fire escape, we were off!

Lead by Laura and Chris, the original co founders of the Art trail, we intended to get round as many venues as possible in one evening to get a feel of what was happening on the Village, Hoe Street and Chapel End Trails. We were looking forward to chatting to the artists and dispensing trail guides and badges.  

With volunteers Emma (our official photographer), Carole, Joe and Chris we descended on the beautiful Walthamstow Village, which is jam packed with shops, private homes and workshops showing a wide range of art.

Carole and Emma outside Estates 17
First stop - A Walthamstow Institution! -  Penny Fielding Gallery -  showing Hassan Vawda's paintings - A writer turned painter who now tells stories of Walthamstow life with paint rather than words in his own inimitable style. Even though it was early, there was a real buzz - unfortunately no time to stop for the delicious cakes provided by Aura Rose patisserie. Time to move on to our next stop at Estates 17 - although not officially listed as a preview venue, Neil who owns Estates 17 and sponsors the E-list (Walthamstow's listings magazine), was providing very generous and stylish hospitality. We drank Bollinger whilst chatting to photographer Paul Tucker. He was showing his stunning images of Epping Forest which capture the beautiful change of light throughout the year. From here we visited the Village Deli where two of our Volunteers Joe and Chris, both fine artists themselves, ended up helping to hang some of the art of the Hayley Holliday exhibition which was enigmatically called "Strangers on a Train".

It was a bit of a trek to the next venue but great fun - We stopped to chat to people on the way to give out trail guides and persuade people to go to the previews.

Our next preview was the Makers Yard secret oasis of creativity and calm hidden behind a gate just off Shernall street. Apparently these sheds, situated round a pretty garden courtyard, were once a cattery but now house an eclectic group of artists. One of whom, Yvonne Overton, had taken some amazing pictures of a rat skeleton she had found in the garden - sounds a bit gross but in fact they were rather beautiful. I had an interesting chat to Marita and Tim who were doing the rounds of the previews to promote their own exhibition  at Wadham Bowling Club in Chapel End with food by Damngood curry club. It sounds fab, please go! 

Inline image 3
Marita and Tim
Again we had to tear ourselves away - Off  to Amanda Doidge's garden shed in Church Hill to see her fine art ceramics, some of which are based on the Rorschach psychotherapy test - Amanda talked eloquently about her fascinating pieces in a lovely family atmosphere. 

Inline image 1

Just time to fit in two final venues!

Second to last stop "Show Something" in Howard Road included a very cool collective of illustrators who have whitewashed thier whole house, turning it into a gallery for the duration of the Art Trail. There was a real party atmosphere here so we stayed for a few drinks and some rainbow cake mean while manically pinning E17 badges to all and sundry. We were accosted by a large padded owl like creature as we were leaving who insisted on having a picture taken - I immediately agreed as it didn't seem wise to argue with a drunken owl!

We were seriously flagging by now but decided to do one last exhibition at Bygga bo on Chingford Road, next to the Bell. Wow, what an amazing space - Swedish food in very stylish surroundings with a beautiful garden and exhibition space attached.The photography exhibition showing was called Mixed Race 17 - a reflection on being mixed race in the modern world - very though provoking images and interesting back stories.

After a few Swedish tapas and some schnapps, we finally admitted defeat. Tired but inspired by an amazing evening we headed for home!

We managed seven previews in one night!

I am really looking forward to the next few weeks, there is an artists reception tonight for which I am making the bunting, so I better get a move on!

Lynda Bailey is an ex fashion designer now working in a media agency. Originally from Newcastle, she has been living in London for many years and Walthamstow for ten, She loves art and is volunteering to really immerse herself in the art trail experience!