Thursday 28 April 2016

A Bank Holiday outing - Monica Alcazar's show in Hoxton, London

A great outing for the Bank Holiday - photographer Monica Alcazar's work is in a group show Intersections in Hoxton, London over the weekend.  Here's an interview with Monica about her work.

Monica worked with us on our needlework and embroidery project Stitch in Harrow and made this wonderful short film one Valentine's Day.

Our headwrap competition in The Voice

Credit: Island Bo Photography

Our competition for an African headwrap is in the latest edition of The Voice newspaper - click here.

A great collaboration with Azawala art gallery in Elephant and Castle.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

News from Brent artist Mary Pritchard

Portrait from A Stitch in Time
Good to hear from Mary Pritchard, who worked with us on A Stitch in Time in Brent. Mary took photographs of the women involved in creating a giant wall hanging which went on display in Willesden Green.  We're still working on embroidery and needlework - and over the years have kept up a blog ....

Here's Mary's news:

"JUNE 17-19th
This year is the biennial Queens Park Open Gardens/Studios which is a lovely event where it will be possible to combine visiting lots of local gardens and art studios on Sunday 19th June 1-6pm. My studio/garden will also be open on the evening of Friday 17th, 6-9pm and Saturday 18th June from 1-6pm when one will be able to sample some of Ray’s sangria (hopefully in the sunshine!)

If you fancy a trip down to the seaside……

JUNE 28th - JULY10th
FOUR STATES, 4 MINDS: An American Journey
A group show at Hastings Arts Forum PRIVATE VIEW Saturday 2nd July 2-5pm
General opening times, Tuesday - Sunday 11-5pm.

In September last year I travelled with three others through some of the most beautiful States in the USA: Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Although we all had the same experience, we all responded in different ways and made our own interpretations. The exhibition should be very varied and reflect these personal interests.
Work from :-
Quentin Ball, (photography), will concentrate on his ongoing project about 'The Great Divide’, a ‘watershed’ that runs all through the western states of the US.
Jean Davey Winter, (photography and mixed media paintings) will be showing work relating to her ongoing exploration of journeys and the land.
Mary Pritchard, (photography, ceramics and artist’s books). I will be showing some ceramic ‘landscape’ sculptures inspired by the extraordinary territory through which we travelled, aswell as photographs and artist’s books.
Tony Wallis, (photography), images of Yellowstone National Park with all its variety of extraordinary geological features. "

Thursday 21 April 2016

African headwrap design competition - we're off

Spending this morning circulating the press release for our new African headwrap competition. It should be an interesting few months - we'll be working with Africa art gallery Azawala to showcase the winning design in Black History Month this October.


Feel overlooked? Ignored? Like your voice doesn’t count? A brand new competition is offering YOU the chance to speak out by creating new designs for Africa’s headwrap.
I’M STILL HERE - just launched - is run by African art gallery Azawala, based in Elephant and Castle, London with the charity Bridging Arts. It’s free and open to everyone all over the UK.
“Our gallery is in the heart of an area where the individual is being squeezed out,” says gallery director Jos Brient. “We’ve seen what’s been happening here so we decided to launch this competition. We want people to create designs that say something about their lives.
“You don’t have to be African – or a fashion student – or a print maker. You just have to have a voice and want to tell us about your life and experience.”
The winning design will be commercialised and showcased during Black History Month this October. To download the entry form or for more information, visit or text 0794 12 52 444.

Monday 18 April 2016

The sport for everyone

Love these posters at Camborne Station, Cornwall - clearly designed, written and put up by Tony Smith and Roger Moyle. They've had an idea to invite people to the bowling club  - and then acted on it. Hats off.

Marguerite Kesteloot, Belgian refugee, and a Spring Fayre

Bridging Arts volunteer Valerie Griggs was delighted to make a surprise contact with the granddaughter of a Belgian World War One refugee at the weekend.
Valerie has worked with us since 2014 on Heart of Conflict.
On Saturday, she was displaying her collection of World War One memorabilia in at a Spring Fayre in Pool, Cornwall, and happened to meet the granddaughter of Marguerite Kesteloot, a Belgian refugee who came to Calstock in north Cornwall in 1915.
Marguerite's story is featured in 100 Faces 100 Stories, a Heritage Lottery funded project involving the Cornish Archives Network, the Cornwall Museum group and Penryn Museum.
She was one of more than 250,000 Belgian refugees who fled to Britain during the war.
She stayed on, marrying Richard Preston, a market gardener in Calstock.
Dr Joanna Mattingly, who spearheaded the project, is giving a talk about it this coming Wednesday (22 April) at St Day Village Hall at 730pm.

Saturday 16 April 2016

Research on nursing at Cornwall Records Office

A notebook kept by a nurse in Cornwall during World War One
/Photo courtesy Cornwall Records Office
A fantastic collection of archives on nursing at the Cornwall Records Office: these will certainly be a starting point for our work on the next stage of Heart of Conflict. Bridging Arts volunteer Valerie Grigg is particularly interested in nursing in Cornwall during World War One: she worked as nurse throughout her life, in London as well as Camborne.
Notes from women who started to nurse in Cornwall during the war years are a fascinating records of hospitals set up in large private houses at that time. It happened in Downton Abbey! And in real life, it happened in Cornwall: several county families opened their doors to the wounded and turned their houses into hospitals or convalescent homes.

Friday 15 April 2016

Visit to Alison Pooley

A wonderful visit to Illogan this morning to meet Alison Pooley and her sister, Carmen, and to see the family's collection of postcards and photographs from World War One. Alison's grandfather Leslie Pentecost served at the Front during World War One throughout the war. He also played in the rugby matches between Cornish and Devon soldiers, organised after Camborne Rugby Club sent out a ball. (We featured this in our work last year in Heart of Conflict and BBC Cornwall showcased it on Remembrance Sunday 2015.)
So much material here - so well preserved! Utterly inspiring and a real starting point for the next stage of the project, which will result in an exhibition at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, from September to December this year.

West Briton advertises Valerie Grigg's show tomorrow

Good to see a bit of publicity in the West Briton for Valerie Grigg's show tomorrow in Pool, Cornwall. Valerie has been helping us for more than a year now with our World War One project Heart of Conflict.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Sad passing of Radio Cornwall legend

Very sad to hear of the death of BBC Radio Cornwall legend Ted Gundry: aptly heard it on Radio Cornwall 5pm news when I was driving home in the car. Ted was the voice of Radio Cornwall all the time I was growing up. More recently he provided inspirational interview training to Guides in our World War One project Heart of Conflict.
I met one of the Guides by chance in Praze in the summer. She said Ted had really inspired her. "I heard him on the news afterwards and thought 'That's my man'," she said. "Now I know what I have to do if I want to be a journalist."

Brexit, xenophobia and a radio show

Great to hear that Bridging Arts volunteer Mike Matthews has a regular slot now on KFM Radio in Redruth, Cornwall.   KFM radio literally gives people a voice - especially people who might not otherwise have a chance to make their views known.
Not so good though to hear from  Mike that he's encountering much more xenophobia - prejudice about migrant workers - since the Brexit debate kicked off. Not good news at all.
Mike helped us with I Packed This Myself, a project we ran a few years ago bringing local people and migrant workers together across Cornwall. Perhaps it's time to revisit this. 

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Heart of Conflict meetings in Cornwall

Good meetings today in Truro and Carnon Downs on the next stage of Heart of Conflict - our Heritage Lottery funded project marking the centenary of World War One.
A meeting at the Royal Cornwall Museum on educational workshops and marketing  - then on to the cafe at Carnon Downs garden centre for a meeting with  Sue, who runs a wonderful Scout group on the Helford river.
In between meetings called in at Truro Cathedral to look at their WW1 memorial.
It would be good to check what the Cathedral is planning this year for Remembrance  Day.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Sew Much Fun in Hammersmith

Rusty, working at his embroidery
Great to be in Hammersmith, London today doing a sewing workshop with the Befrienders' Service at the Masbro Community Centre. It's a fantastic group and a credit to Martha Romero who manages the programme. The Befrienders' Service works with older people who are isolated, need help with shopping or DIY - or simply want a friendly face to visit occasionally. Martha recruits volunteers then teams them up with older people so that friendships are forged.
Today at the workshop we had our oldest ever embroiderer - Rusty, aged 91 who raced away with the design. It was the first time he'd ever done embroidery, though he said he was pretty good at sewing and took up his own trousers etc. He said he'd been in the navy and you had to know how to sew a bit.
Sewing tutor Katrina Williams taught the group the crewelwork nightingale design we developed with the Royal School of Needlework a few years ago.
We're looking forward to our next session at the Masbro Centre on 17 May. Lots of people took their embroidery home with them today to work on in the meantime.

Sunday 10 April 2016

Preparing for embroidery workshop next Tuesday

Great to meet up with Katrina Williams (who has volunteered for Bridging Arts for nearly ten years now) to make up embroidery packs for a workshop next Tuesday afternoon at the Masbro Centre, Hammersmith. We've been working on sewing, needlework and fabric for some time now - it's great to be doing some embroidery again.
See from the Masbro Centre website that 2,700 local people visit every week. That's a fantastic testimony to the brilliant work done there.
On Tuesday, we'll be working with older people and volunteers at the Centre's Befriending Service.

Thursday 7 April 2016

Bridging Arts researcher creates World War One pop up display in Cornwall

There’ll be an interesting World War One pop-up exhibition in Pool, west Cornwall on Saturday 16 April as Bridging Arts volunteer Valerie Grigg will put her large collection of memorabilia on display.

She’s working with us on our Heritage Lottery funded-project Heart of Conflict, gathering Cornish stories from the war years.

She's keen to hear from anyone who has any memories of grandparents or other family members working in local munitions factories during World War One – or from anyone who was involved in nursing in the local convalescent homes or working in the mines during those years. Please do call in to see her or email

We’re collecting information and stories for an exhibition at the Royal Cornwall Museum this autumn. The Spring Fayre is at Heathcoats Social Club, Station Road, Pool, Cornwall from 10am to 12 noon. Entry free. Crafts, plants, cakes and a Tombola as well as Valerie’s exhibition!

Saturday 2 April 2016

What a wrap

Forgot yesterday to post a  photo of the headwrap worn by Esther of The Calabash Hub  at our meeting at Azawala gallery in Elephant and Castle. Esther says this is easy to do - but it looks pretty tricky to me ...
Esther is helping us with our competition to design an Africa headwrap.

Friday 1 April 2016

Searching for new designs: Esther and headwrap workshops

Great to see Esther of The Calabash Hub today in Elephant and Castle at a meeting with the brilliantAfrican art gallery Azawala on our new competition for African headwraps.  More here - an entry form plus details of the competition.
At the workshops, Esther talks about different designs, shows how to create different headwrap styles - and most importantly gives YOU a chance to have a go yourself. Fascinating.
Watch this space for more details.

Support Us

Bridging Arts depends on grants and charitable donations. To support us, click here.