The Beast & Me

The Beast and Me

It’s grey here I’d say 95% of the year, except from the odd stretch of summer when that cruelest London sun beats the tarmac bleached, a slightly lighter shade of grey on the Dulux scale. You can walk the long mecca of the market and hear a different tongue at every turn. You’re the only white girl on the bus. You’re the only one in colour who isn’t a construction worker. People work hard here. Hard. Know the meaning of money and you’re just a monied interloper choking on fishbones and white guilt in a Turkish restaurant.
Better watch out ‘cos here be dragons. Peeling off the bridge but beasts all the same.You’re comforted by hooded figures and their choke-chained hideous dogs as you walk the pigeon grey streets after hours. You ashamedly lick the slithery chicken off your fingers, not quite another tourist sent astray by Dickens. Sometimes you’re naked in your shiny doll clothes, all-too-often checking out, on the way to Hampstead Soho Greenwich Camden the South Bank Spitalfields. A  tourist in your own town, but The Stow’s home. It’ll grow on you, wait and see, it’ll absorb the you into me, become a simmering lazy primordial molasses ooze of far-flung spices and words words words. Sticky sticky sticky it’ll stick to your shoes and you won’t ever stamp it out.
Victoria Line, that’s my name, I write it down for you straight on the jerky trains of my name-sake in tiny cursive or tiny print, neat black always. I’m an auditor, an observationalist. I’m invisible and omnipresent, and I know what’s in your heart. It beats for this place, for “Perfect” Fried Chicken and all the 99p shops, for gum-spattered streets and the ancient house in the Village. You were born of the beast of east, spat out like gum on the pavement.

This is the first piece of writing/embroidery specifically about Walthamstow; the "loveletter" to "The Stow" which I promised.
And what better to illustrate a piece on Walthamstow with than a pigeon, "the rat of the sky"? Huge flocks gather around the market every day in the hope of some left-over produce; in my mind they really seem to symbolise The Stow.
More on Walthamstow's arts and crafts scene, past and present, to come!


A bit of a deviation from  The Cure for Love tonight; today I completed my first commission for one of the visitors to my exhibition in the E17 Art Trail.

The piece is for a French friend of the client, hence the French national motto of "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" and the colours of the French flag.

It's incredibly exciting to be sewing for someone, let alone getting paid for it. I just hope she's happy with the outcome, I'm not sure about the black outline on the red and blue... what do you think?

(Have just realised there should be an extra accent on the first "e" on égalité... will have to add that in the morning!)

Too Wit To Woo

The text reads:


Too intellectual to function
Too intellectual to eat luncheon
I survive on a diet of musty books and air
I'm pallid and wan, I'm fey and fair
And I'm far too academic for affection
I'm hard at work practising the studious purse of my lips
I've hired horn rimmed glasses I can hardly see through
I've acquired a socially stunting lisp
My minds is filled with higher things
Than Gretna Green and wedding rings
And in the evening the owls coo
"Too wit to woo, too wit to woo".

The Cure For Love

A title embroidery for the project. I may write a piece of poetry/prose to accompany it.

While I was stitching this design, I came across a remarkably similar ink drawing on Flickr. Coincidence?