Jun 13, 2014

Guest blog: Art Trail Fairy on the Walking Tour

Due to the fabulous weather the walking tour which started outside Walthamstow Library on the 12th of June had an amazing turnout. Our guides, Morag and local artist Hassan Vawda, gave a charming and cheery introduction to our route and the venues and exhibitions we would see and then we were off...

After a quick tour of Walthamstow Library showing an eclectic mix of different artists in a mixture of media we headed off down Hoe Street to the second of our venues, The Rose and Crown (Venue 88 Art Trail guide) where we all enjoyed the diverse styles of seven local artists predominantly around this years Art Trail theme - Inhabit. The stand out artist for me was Patrick Nolan whose funny portraits transcend the humble medium of biro.

The next exhibition, at The Bell (Venue 43 Art Trail Guide), was fantastic. Curated by an artist collective called Pack of Wolves it is entitled New Folk Visionaries and features trained artists working in a folk art style. There was a bizarre box of Barbies (go see!!), gold painted animal skulls and a range of paintings in zingy colours: very compatible with the current trend in colourful eccentric interiors.

Venues four and five were only a few steps away at the Veg Hut, an amazing fruit and veg shop (Venue 42 Art Trail Guide)  and Bygga Bo, a newly opened Swedish cafe (Venue 41 Art Trail Guide) - both photographic exhibitions but in very different styles. Veg Hut is exhibiting a reportage of Wathamstow by Adrian Callaghan while Bygga Bo is showing Fabien Ho's documenting of Wathamstow residents of mixed race parentage. They were both thought-provoking and technically very competent.

Our walk was becoming positively tropical as the sun beat down but we weren't complaining as we entered beautiful Lloyd park and made our way to Winns gallery (Venue 45 Art Trail Guide) where Waltham Forest College had an exhibition of student work from Art and Design courses. There were a couple of students and a lecturer on duty who were keen to show and explain the work - as well as paintings and drawings there were a lovely collection of characterful ceramic heads.

Making the most of the weather our next four destinations were outside. The students at Winns Primary School had decorated their windows with aliens - it was lovely to see such an enthusiastic explosion of the children's imaginations (Venue 16 Art Trail Guide). Stoneydown Park, another primary school, (53 Art Trail Guide) had some beautiful mosaics based on William Morris textiles created by Amanda Parker - which are sure to cheer up parents and children, even on less sunny days.
Our last two stops were a surprise and a revelation, proving that you don't have to open your actual house if you want to exhibit your work at home. Artists Wendy MacMillan at 60 Buxton Road (Venue 55 Art Trail Guide) and the artist at 68 Mersey Road (Venue 20 Art Trail Guide) showed their work in the front windows and gardens. At Buxton Road the illustrations were the upstairs blinds while Mersey Road had a huge installation of black tubes and fallen soldiers in the bay window which sparked a heated debate about whether the poor inhabitants were starved of daylight within! Also outside this venue was a Robotronicals Archaeological dispensorium. For a pound you got an archaeology-related present in a plastic egg: much excitement ensued as we scrambled to put our money in the slot!

A walking tour is a wonderful way to see the E17 Art Trail. Not only is it good exercise, but there are lots of surprises and a chance to discuss ideas and opinions with others and see different parts of Walthamstow.

There are several walking tours and one cycle tour before the Art trail ends. Please check your Art Trail Guide Events section for Saturday 14th June and Sunday 15th June. They all cover different aspects of the Trail, from history to Muslim culture and Poetry.

Get walking, get discovering and meet new friends!

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