Since returning to Walthamstow, one of the warmest and most pleasing additions to the concrete and paper bag landscape of E17 is the emergence of The Mill. It is a proper community centre, not just a building or hall with the title, it is involved everyday in being a space for a huge range of programmes and support that this wide, diverse community needs and wants. One of only 17 projects who were given a grant by the Neighbourhood Challenge scheme through the organization and persistence of local residence it is a project that has community support stamped all over it.
Run by a really, reaaaally barebones staff and a host of enthusiastic volunteers (anyone is welcome to help out), it has such a positive, collective and a real ‘Walthamstow’ feel whatever it is being used for. Whether it is computer skills and language lessons to craft and children’s workshops or even events in art and performance; it has become a vital ‘hub at the heart of Walthamstow dedicated to helping local people make the most of their talents and skills.’ Oh and it is also operates as an open gallery space. In its cosy, welcoming ‘living room’ with its big table and handmade chairs, work from the community, made by the community and part of the community is always being displayed somewhere on the walls.
So it is no surprise that this hub will be hosting a great selection of local art during the Trail. It will be a great space to visit if you want to get quick feel of the art of E17 in general. There will be a exhibition called Gifted which will run throughout the trail (except Mondays) and is a collection of work from both profession and amateur artists. It should a be a perfect crash course of artistic talent Walthamstow has to offer and would be a great starting point. There will also be an exhibition by Significant Seams called The Significant Seams Neighbourly Quilt (every day except Sundays and Mondays) which brings together quilts from different artists from the area celebrating ‘neighbourliness’, a real fitting exhibit to have at The Mill. Also fitting is the exhibit Sprout There, it is the photographic fruits of two year for an organic allotment project for adults with Learning Disabilities.
Alongside the ‘living room’ of The Mill, there is also a lovely little garden round the back. It was a pile of rubble and mud but with some elbow sweat from hard working volunteers it is a flourishing place with lens flare and butterflies. This is where the Monica Capelastegui and Uzo Unukwubriri’s exhibition Garden Fairies will sit. There will be broken umbrella, metal and other recycled fairies floating around the garden to find. You will also be able to find in The Mill 1 of 6 life size human sculptures that will be ‘Waiting’ around Walthamstow for you to find.
This will be a good place to start or visit for those feeling so daunted and lost by the size of the trail. Especially if you are coming from outside of Walthamstow, come see an real community space! It is right down past the St. James Street side of High Street, and just as Coppermill Lane begins.
7-11 Coppermill Lane