Last weekend I rode the Victoria Line train as far North as it extends. The very last stop on the line is Walthamstow Central and the East 17 postcode (which is where the 90s boyband got their name; they grew up in Walthamstow). Each year, local cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops give up their walls to allow local artists to display their work in the name of the E17 Art Trail. A group of local volunteers organise the whole affair and produce a trail guide with walking and cycling routes. Visitors can pick up a trail guide and then hop around the town to see the art that interests them. I was really touched by the sense of community, both on the trail and in the surrounding area. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get to the trail until 4pm (owing to an overzealous colourist who wanted to let the subtle auburn hair dye turn my tresses scarlet!) and most of the participating stores closed between 5pm and 6pm. I squeezed in three exhibitions before doors closed.
Hornbeam Café (458 Hoe Street)
A flick through their website suggests that it’s not just the E17 Art Trail that this café supports – there are events galore (children’s activities, knitting and community care at the moment). 5 artists displayed at the Hornbeam during the trail, including Mary Pullen with her One Line: Illustrations show (my favourite of the day). The café also served me a super tasty nut rissole!
BEYCA Retro (83 Grove Road)
An unbelievably cool retro furniture shop hosted the Walthamstow International Film Festival, complete with complimentary popcorn. The screening was devised to pay tribute to the old Walthamstow cine studio which, in the 1920s, apparently rivalled Hollywood and Pinewood. Playing on a specially commissioned retro-style TV was a series of 87 short films (no more than 5 minutes long). I was as interested in the people watching as the films – so lovely to see families and friends come together for a bit of culture!
Penny Fielding Beautiful Interiors (34 Orford Road)
Beautiful Interiors is a sweet homeware shop in which I spotted a few cult items including Lush Design’s Love pillowcases and Wild Foods Seasonal Guide Tea Towel. It also played hostess to 8 exhibitions so plenty to see. I was most attracted to Diane Furlong’s Re-Vision display of fashion inspired by the lost art of afternoon tea but have to admit that the tree had a lot to do with that!