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E17 Art Trail brings open house for Walthamstow creatives

Danny Coope, 'Flowers Shoots & Leaves', 2009 (photo: the artist)
The trail, now in its sixth year, is a framework for E17's and Waltham Forest's artists and makers to show and promote their work

At the end of the Victoria Line lies an unexpected arts destination boasting over 200 exhibitions and events in open houses, studios, galleries, streets and gardens.

Welcome to Walthamstow's creative community and the E17 Art Trail.

Each September the 10-day project invites visitors to see beyond the district's links with former resident William Morris and encounter art in a myriad of forms - along with numerous invitations to tea and cake.

Here, co-founder Cris Thompson sifts through the trail's many offerings to present some highlights.


Each year we think we must have reached a plateau in terms of numbers participating but the event keeps growing, I'm happy to say. And the things artists propose to do keep getting more ambitious.

Right now over 1200 artists and local people are preparing, some of them from abroad and some for the first time.

We've got the regular favourites - painting, sculpture, textiles and photography plus more film and video art, performance and dance. We even have quilting, a primary school homage to Chris Ofili and an illustrated shed.

Everyone really should choose their own highlights; that's why our website has a My Trail feature, where visitors can browse our listings and navigate the trail for themselves.

Having said that, here are the things I'm not going to miss.

The Walthamstow Tapestry (after Grayson Perry)

This is a 12 metre site-specific installation by Image 17, a group of East London-based artists and photographers reflecting life and work in Waltham Forest, one of London's outlying Olympic boroughs.

The Walthamstow Tapestry after Grayson Perry, 2010 (c) Image 17
Photographs are spread across the 'tapestry' to create the installation

It's an echo of Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry's Walthamstow Tapestry, which we showed in 2009; he was referring deliberately to Walthamstow as the birth place of William Morris, who designed some beautiful textiles and tapestries.

The exhibition, in a disused office space above a supermarket, features all new work including vividly coloured postcard views, dog walkers, proud homeowners, lost pets, chicken shops... and people named Claire.

Friday 3 - Sunday 12 September, 12pm - 7pm, Tower Mews, above Tesco Metro, opposite Walthamstow Central tube station E17.

E17 Designers' Market

A mix of regular and new designers will be setting up their stalls to join in with this year's sixth annual trail.

They will be selling a mix of affordable, hand-made items ranging from jewellery and art prints to children's clothes and beautiful leather pieces.

Sunday 12 September, 2 - 6pm, Asian Centre, 18a Orford Road E17.

Mantle Piece

This summer, local residents the Lawrence family will again be transforming the front of their home.

The Lawrence family, 2008 (photo: Katherine Green)
The Lawrence family turn their home into a pop-up gallery for the trail

They've tackled greyhounds in the past, amazingly, but this time they're going for a giant mantle piece and fireplace.

They're using the subject to produce a giant family portrait, with each family member represented by an ornament of their choice.

The piece will also show their values and likes as well as depicting its social place and time in history.

Saturday 4 - Sunday 12 September, open throughout the day, 66 Grosvenor Park Road E17.

Inky Cuttlefish

This artist-led printmaking studio and arts complex are showing work around the theme of Shades of Green, with various demos and workshops across six days, including a chance to make your own print.

We won't be missing their ever-popular costume parties; this year's shares the green theme, with live jazz and an opportunity to win some really amazing artwork.

Saturday 4 - Sunday 12 September (except Mon, Tues & Thurs), times vary, 5 Blackhorse Lane E17.

Craftivista Social Club

Their love of 'craftivism', music and all things social sparked off this idea to create a one-off interactive celebration for the trail.

Craft Tea Party, 2009 (c) Craft Guerilla
What's the point of a social club without cake and tea?

It's a DIY craft night basically, with dance and a live rockabilly band to have you hopping, bopping, knitting and swaying.

Don't worry if you think you're not arty-crafty enough; there's a selection of ready-to-make projects crafted specially for the event and in-house tutors to guide you through your idea-packs.

They're also hoping to add some burlesque tease!

Friday 10 September, 8pm - 11.30pm, Orford Road Social Club, 73 Orford Road E17.

The E17 Art Trail continues at various venues and addresses across Walthamstow and Waltham Forest to Sunday 12 September.





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