Matthew Raw and Abigail Holsborough
‘Embedded Bread’ is a participatory artwork that recognises the history of the bakery at Chef’s Corner and reflects the wide range of cultures that make up Waltham Forest. The aim is to celebrate how past and present migration continues to enrich the borough and it’s residents’ lives. The entire wall will be clad in blue and white tiles paying homage to both the original colour of the wall, and domestic decorative tiles throughout history.
The design includes the words: BREAD MADE HERE SINCE 1891 – a large-scale typographic nod to the signage used on bakeries to advertise their goods. The first named owner of the property (in the census of the time) is James Alston Collins – he had listings in the commercial directory as a baker and confectioner. The building has been a bakery since, and the artists want to remember all that have interacted with the site. Local residents will have opportunity to contribute to the piece in a series of tile-making workshops. It is our hope that these sessions and the larger artwork will provide an environment for past and present members of the community to metaphorically break bread and learn more about each other’s cultures and shared narratives.
Abigail's and Matthew's design was inspired by large-scale, bold shop signage that was painted onto the sides of buildings. The artists want the slogan to stimulate conversation and celebrate the specificity of the building. The line drawing of breads on the existing Butler’s Bakery sign sparked the idea to challenge the community to ‘draw’ bread and other products found in bakeries from their culture. The aim is for a wide range of forms to feature on the handmade tiles celebrating bakery goods and the diversity of the community.
The range of blue glazed tiles will be produced by Froyles Tiles in Surrey. We want to create a spectacular and rich wall full of differing tones which will change with the light of the day. They are all handmade which will harmonise with the tiles made during our workshops. Each tile measures 210 x 210mm, and examples will be available to see at the workshops. One of tiles’ big logistical advantages over the ages is that they are ‘wipe clean’.
‘Tiling has an affinity with modernity. Despite having its origins in the ancient world, and a rich and long history of use, ceramic tiling is fundamentally associated with with the idea of progress. Tiles stand for rationalism,order and cleanliness. They are markers of civilization.’
Alun Graves – Senior Curator of Sculpture and Ceramics at the Victoria & Albert Museum
Abigail and Matthew will run ten tile-making workshops with a range of local groups and individuals to create the 100 ‘bread tiles’. They will be interspersed across the wall at eye level for the public to enjoy. The artists are currently contacting community groups, and will run two of the sessions for students and staff at Jenny Hammond Primary School. There is also the aim to run drop-in workshops for local residents.
Each participant will be taught how to roll flat tiles and create the illustrations based on a cultural bread / baked good of their choice. Bread, as well as having a direct link to the bakery, is a powerful symbol; around the world each culture has taken variants of the same ingredients to produce different breads, which are passed down through generations and have become part of important traditions. Bread is something that migrating communities have brought to Waltham Forest, as seen in the naan stalls in Walthamstow market, Polish bakeries on St James Street, and of course the Caribbean hard dough bread sold in the Butler’s Bakery itself. To the artists, there are similarities to ceramic materials, where different cultures have taken the same base ingredients to create their own unique designs, whilst learning from others.
Abigail and Matthew met through ‘Clay Station’, a collaborative ceramics project with the collective Assemble, that was commissioned by Art on the Underground. The project centred around the refurbishing and remodelling of a formerly derelict commercial unit at the entrance to Seven Sisters Underground Station.
Abigail began in public art in 2014 working on the ‘Pound a Portrait’ project, funded by Waltham Forest Council. It involved creating a pop up photography studio on Hoe Street to capture the faces and stories of people from the borough. Since then Abigail has held various positions and run projects in schools, museums and galleries, including The Barbican Centre, Brixton Flour Mill, and London Transport Museum. Abigail was born and raised in Waltham Forest. Moving between Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone she has a strong personal connection to the area, and she remembers her Mum buying bread from Butler's Bakery.
Matthew is a Royal College of Art graduate and former artist in residence at the V&A Museum. He set up ‘Manifold’ – a collective studio in East London – with fellow graduates in 2010. He works on public commissions, artworks for galleries, and teaches extensively (Royal College of Art, Central St Martins and his own company; Raw Ceramic Workshops). He is currently working on a large-scale mural for The University of Warwick, creating new work for a solo show at Plymouth College of Art, and will be leading a Masterclass at the Barbican Centre in March.