Tag Archives: River and Cloth

Astonishing Day

Colliers Wood

Originally uploaded by fionalongart.

I’ve had quite a day!

This week I started at the wonderful arts charity Create that uses the creative arts to help transform the lives of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our society. They run some amazing projects and today I was able to go along to a dance workshop for primary school children and adults with learning difficulties. It was brilliant to see how well the groups integrated and to watch them coming up with collaborative dance routines inspired by their favourite London landmarks.

After an exhausting but brilliant day’s work, I dashed off to the opening reception of the River and Cloth exhibition at Merton Abbey Mills. River and Cloth is another charity project which was set up to celebrate the textile heritage of the River Wandle. With names like William Morris and Liberty, it’s rather an interesting story! The exhibition is a great display of what was achieved during the school and community workshops. I got to meet some lovely people too!

One of the people I met was local archaeologist and author, David Saxby. He gave me a beautiful book he’d written about William Morris but what really blew me away was visiting his (almost) secret museum! It was like the Bat Cave! It’s called the Chapter House and is only open a few days per year. It’s hidden under an underpass to Sainsbury’s by an electricity pylon. You’d never guess it was there! He opened the door, turned on the light and infront of me, a huge cavern of ancient abbey wall excavations, stone pillars and coffins was illuminated! Extraordinary! It’s open this weekend as part of Open House London.

Block Printing

Block Printing

Originally uploaded by fionalongart.

I recently helped out at another workshop for the lovely organisation, River and Cloth, celebrating the textile heritage of the River Wandle. The previous phases were dye and stitch and this one is print.

This print workshop run by Sandrine Case involved simply pushing indentations into polystyrene paisley shapes with a biro, inking the paisley up and pushing in onto the material. Et voila! All participants then added their individual designs to a ‘tree of life’ textile piece. It looked great!

This ‘tree of life’ and many other beautiful results of the project will be on display at our exhibition this September at the weird oasis of tranquility that is Merton Abbey Mills. The show runs 10am – 5pm daily from the 17th – 23rd September. If you’re in the area or fancy the surreal experience of seeing a watermill powered pottery in something like a village market, then come and see what we’ve been up to with numerous school and community groups in the area.