E17 Art Trail – the opening ride

It was a fraught first day of the E17 Art Trail and our first bike ride nearly didn’t happen. Not that the EDL and We Are Waltham Forest marches actually stopped us from riding, and neither did the police, but the visceral politics which rolled across Walthamstow took away the limelight.
After the start at the library and the Original Army’s Pass the Parcel event we visited the E17 Art House (venue 77), always satisfying with its selection of artworks, before leaving Walthamstow Central for distant treasures.
Catherine Linton’s Constraint and Femininity in Edward Road (venue 24) was varied in technique and precise in the symbolic treatment of the theme, occasionally hitting at it directly, or maybe just changing symbols: from corsets and baby clothes to Leda and her swan.
6 Waterside (venue 31) presented two artists; Paul Cates’s large work welcomed us with a meditation on the passing of time. A static presentation consisting of paintings and clothes, wine bottles and glasses and spectacles and alarm clocks, it changed every two hours when Paul shifted things around – but you wouldn’t know if you missed it. His paintings inside included this comment on e-books:
The garden, looking over the reservoir, was playground to Steph Baxter and her mosaics. Steph sat among them with a hammer in front of her, offering a crash course in mosaicing.
We enjoyed upcycled furniture at Forest Recycling Project (venue 163) and miniatures of Arabic ornamentation – part of the Awareness exhibition at the Hornbeam Centre (venue 164).
Kerrie Ahern used Chinese wisdom – you are bound with invisible thread to everyone you ever meet – to express some very personal emotions in the shape of ceramics and installations and photos: An Invisible Red Thread, venue 176. Kerrie shares with all comers a pair of tiny ceramic feet – a reminder that you wear your invisible thread around your ankle. Kerrie also treated us to amazing snacks.
Some Easons and a Bergman(venue 172) is a selection of art by an entire artistic family. They welcomed us with stylish prints proclaiming ‘All you need is London’.
After a ride through the forest we had a coffee at the heart and soul of Chapel End, the Arts and Crusts cafe (venue 100). Not all artworks were up yet – Andrew was still working on the gallery at the back, to be unveiled next week.
As we rode through Thorpe Crescent two pink flamingoes welcomed us to venue 39 – The Orchid House(giant ultra-violet installations) and Quercus(wooden furniture crafted to a high polish, and yet in full respect and appreciation of the natural shapes in which the wood had come).
We finished at Inky Cuttlefish Studios (venue 10) – though before we did we were thrust back into the rioting reality of that Saturday. 

Here you can see Esther Neslen’s Waiting– one of a series of sculptures scattered across Walthamstow – as well as Anna Alcock’s Isabella’s Gift, the graphic theme of this year’s Art Trail.

Two more rides for those who missed it: next Saturday the 8th, and the last Sunday of the Art Trail, the 16th. And for kids – a tour of workshops during Walthamstow Family Bike Club’s ride on Sunday the 9th!
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