Monday, 6 May 2019

'Listening' sketchbook drawing 

'A Walk'  sketchbook drawing.

"Are You Listening? "

A circular walk that will offer the opportunity for us to consider our relationship with the environment, through small site specific interventions, poetry readings from the ecopoetics archive and a meditative knotting of ropes.

Knots a discussion , Margate

A walk in Battersea Park with slow listening for The Chelsea Fringe

Pump House Gallery

The Pump House Gallery situated beside a lake in Battersea Park

on May 26th
at 2pm
meet at Pump House Gallery


I have been inviting community groups,  artists, friends  and writers to participate in the walk Are you Listening? through the arts group I established in 2016,  Thread and Word . 

Thread and Word is a walking practice that uses site and poetry to reflect on notions of time and timelessness, conscouisness, memory and rhythm through sited readings, documentary evidence and performative interventions. 

Participants who collaborate in the walks with Thread and Word are encouraged to record their experience through a menemonic system of knots in ropes.

We have some wonderful writers and artists contributing to 'Are you Listening?' including work by:

Battersea park , photo Elspeth Penfold
 Owen Lowery Owen Lowery
 Billie Penfold  Elspeth - Billie- Penfold
 Julia Riddiouch Julia Riddiough
 Susan Sciama.  Susan Sciama

There are also contributions by friends and established walkers with Thread and Word, including, Virginia Fitch and Laura Shawyer.

These contributions of  poetry and small interventions will invite us to listen carefully to the world around us.

Lucy Claire sitting in the sun waiting

An Invitation to bring sounds on a walk - As we walk we  will be creatively recording a walking soundscape with Lucy Claire.

We are inviting participants to bring a sound ( recorded on a smartphone )  to the walk.  The artist and composer Lucy Claire   Lucy Claire is collaborating with us to record a soundscape of the walk. These sounds will be overlayed with sounds from the walk to create a sound piece which you will be able to access online.

If you sign up on eventbrite you will receive more details about this.

Although free numbers are limited  and  Ticketed https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/are-you-listening-listen-to-the-river-tickets-58716992104

We have been adding the layers to our thinking about this walk through Flags.

"Flags after all are the prototype of political textiles"
(Fray: Art and Textile Politics
Bryan-wilson, Julia)

Aflag by Gillian Upton

 Flags made by Jane Bull who volunteers at The Work and Play Scrastore South London

Jane Bull , Gillian Upton and Ann Waterston are three of the volunteers at TheWork and Play Scrapstore who since March have been making flags using materials from the Scrapstore . These flags will be on display at Hazelfest a community event organised by the Work and Play Scrapstore for The Wandsworth Arts Fringe on May 19th . We will  also be flying these flags on our walk.

We look forward towelcoming you on this walk.

This walk  has been supported by The Work and Play Scrapstore South London, The Chelsea Fringe , Pump House Gallery and the Enable Leisure and Culture Team at Wandsworth Council.

NoteThis project takes its inspiration from Adam Chodzco’s Ghost and a performance piece by the Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, Listen to the River. Cecilia Vicuña performed Listen to the River by the shores of The Mapocho river in Chile during a drought. Her work references climate change, the need to respect the environment as a living creative force and the responsibility we all carry in us to look, think about and consider our relationship to the natural world around us.

Originally made for the 2010 Whitstable Biennial, Ghost by Adam Chodzco is a kayak; a sculpture as the ves- sel, a coffin, a bed and a camera rig. Measuring 22ft in length Ghost was created to accommodate a rower in the back and a passenger at the front. Separated from the rower by a dome in the deck of the kayak, the passenger lies flat in the vessel– at the level of the water – with their head slightly raised. This viewpoint offers a unique perspective of the river and its banks, causing the passenger to consider their relationship with the surrounding landscape. 

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Some snippets ( with photos) ' Cabinet '

at Espacio Gallery 

Curated by Jenny Timmer

This has been a really interesting exhibition to take part in, with thanks to all the lovely artists involved and, in particular to Jenny Timmer who has selected the work and supervised the install with huge generosity . 

Here some photos, if you aren't able to come, at least you can check it out here and who knows, it might give you that little push to drop by!
Jenny Timmer's Tree

I'm not adding names to all the works I have photographed as I am unsure of some of the artists names. There are some I did not get to photograph and wish I had. You can see them all in the link to Espacio Gallery at the end of this blog posting.

 I enjoyed spending time with all the work as I invigilated on Tuesday.
Jane Vincent's Canaries

Sam Hodge etchings of  found plastics

These watercolours on paper by Whitney Jane Halsted.


The pieces I have shown are representative of the things I make as part of the performative walks I organise through Thread and Word. The walks are collaborative and it is through this process of   working together with some wonderful people, places , literature and ideas that my creativity happens. We walk, we think and share our thoughts, we write and share literature.  I weave, sometimes as I prepare for the walk ( it is such a mediative process) and often in between walks and after. For more about Thread and Word :ThreadandWord link

For Cabinet I have displayed a little box of ribbons on spools, which contain the lines from the poem Thread and Word  written by the Chilean Artist and activist Cecilia Vicuña. This poem and others by the same author has inspired me to connect walking weaving and poetry as a process to think and share with others.

The label Walking Library is courtesy of professor Dee Heddon who has also been  an inspiration to me and is well know amongst walking artists.

You are encouraged to handle the ribbons. As in the cabinets of curiosities of old, there isn't a lot to explain the work as this is part of making it a curious object to think about. I'm almost hoping that the ribbons will form some kind of strange weave or crazy knot by Sunday when the exhibition ends.

On the wall above the box is a riso-print of verses, poems, written by fellow walkers who joined me on Sumak Kawsay , a walk for Terminalia. This is a small pocket sized publication of poems which you are encouraged to put in your pocket and take for a walk.

 The print was made in collaboration with George Harding at Well_Projects in Margate. The Riso print using soya base inks, with its unique tactile qualities, vibrant colour palette and its unexpected imperfections is a perfect fit for the work I make, which is fairly random and relies on those random chances, and encounters which lead to creating something quite unexpected. 

'Homecoming' 2018 Canvas and weave 40 x 40 cms

The photo below is in the Publication Sumak Kawasay.

'Homecoming' is a weave on Canvas I made last year, when I felt for a fleeting moment that I finally understood some of my working process.

 A photo sent to me by Jonathan Skinner with his poem Champion Pear (lunes) written following our walk for Terminalia

Cabinet is at Espacio Gallery until this Sunday April 14th open until 5 pm.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

"Sumak Kawsay" a limited edition book of poems.    

by Thread and Word

A Thread and Word publication, using
riso printing (an eco -friendly method for printing using soya based inks and recycled paper which works in a similar method to screen printing).

This limited edition print run of 100 copies will be at "Cabinet" an exhibition at #espaciogallery  which opens next week curated by JennyTimmer.

The content for this book with images and poetry was written by the participants in our walk "Sumak Kawsay' , a walk for Terminalia in February.

Poetry : Virginia Fitch, Susan Emm, Jonathan Skinner (ecopoetics), Diana Lane,  Sue Mclymont,  Anna Bowman,  Julie Pickard,  Laura Shawyer,  Katherine Zeltner,  Susan Sciama

 For more about this walk https: //elspethpenfold.blogspot.com/2019/02/sumak-kawsay-photo-diary-with-few-words.html

If you would like to reserve a copy you can direct message/email me or pick up a copy at Espacio Gallery

next week,  the PV next Thursday April 11th.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

With thanks to GeorgeHarding @well_projects for all his help with layout and printing.

For more about Thread and Word: Thread and Word 

Sunday, 24 March 2019

The Citizen Ship

Will be launched on Friday March 29th 

You are Welcome

An Act of Citizenship With Thread and Word


A welcome invitation to join us 

on the LV21 in Gravesend

on Saturday March 30th

12pm - 3 pm   

You are invited to join Elspeth (Billie) Penfold to create an action through Thread and Word that explores Citizenship and what it means to you on  this day on the LV21. 

Please join Billie in making your own rope. There will be a choice of materials and colours .

It is suggested that you might choose these giving thought to colours and materials that you connect with your feelings about being the member of a community, be it national or local.

You can then knot your rope as a memory aid that reflects your thoughts about what citizenship might mean to you. 

You might like to take your rope for a walk around the LV 21 
while you gather your thoughts as a way of thinking about  citizenship and belonging. There will be a number of events on this day exploring Citizenship on the LV21, which could trigger ideas. You can then create knots in your rope as a reminder as you walk. 

a Vara in the making

You are invited to return your rope to Billie and help her attach it to a ‘Vara’ or pole . 

This Vara will have a particular weave made on an Inkle loom by Billie for this event .

This Vara titled ‘ Acts of Citizenship LV21’ will form  part of an exhibition with several varas representing 14 collaborative walking events from the last four years.

Launch party May 16th

The Varas  have been selected as part of an

   ‘Contemporary Art and Ritual’ at the Crypt Gallery at St Pancras. 

May 16th - May 21st.

(Exhibition curated by Deborah Burnstone and Caro Williams.) 

For more about Billie and her work :

Facebook : Thread and Word
Instagram : elspethpenfold
Twitter: @elspethpenfold



Thursday, 21 March 2019

 ' Home coming', 2018

I will be joining a fab collection with eighteen wonderful artists at 

I'm so delighted to be a part of this collection as it has given me the opportunity to consider how to display my work connecting weaving, performative walking and storytelling in a Gallery space. With thanks to Jenny Timmer for the invitation and also the inspiration.

curated by Jenny Timmer

at Espacio Gallery from  April 9th - 14th

I'd love to see you at the PV on Thursday April 11th , 6 - 9 pm, pop in and see what is in the collection at Cabinet !

Sunday, 24 February 2019

“Sumak Kawsay” *

 A photo diary with a few words about our walk for Terminalia.  


This walk is now recorded through knotted ropes attached to a Vara. 

It's title: ‘Sumak Kawsay’.

A Walk for Terminalia on Saturday February 23rd with Thread and Word.

For this walk I invited friends, artists, writers and poets to join me on the day of the Terminalia Festival of Psychogeography http://terminaliafestival.org

“Neighbours gather sincerely, and hold a feast, and sing your praises, sacred Terminus: you set bounds to peoples, cities, great kingdoms: without you every field would be disputed."
                                                                     From Ovid’s Festivals Book II

Seasalter, Kent.

The setting for our walk, a photo/collage of Seasalter where our walk took place. I've looked at the signage which can be seen at the top of this photo/collage so many times on the sign in Seasalter  and had missed the 'Knot' bird. Thanks to Jonathan Skinner for pointing it out. I will always keep a lookout for it now.

We discussed  some Gods:
Inti - The Inca god of the sun.

Terminus - The Roman god of boundaries - 

Pachamama - the goddess of the earth worshipped by indigenous people throughout the Andean region.

We then discussed the weaving  technique and the meaning of the weave attached to our Vara made for the walk. 

Each walker chose a rope  ( some took two) to walk with and knot as a way to record their memories as we walked. There was some discussion about the history and provenance of knots and their association with memories, reminders and meditation.


Choosing some ropes which are hand made in my studio.

We had a little ceremony to honour Mother Earth, Pachamama.

Then,  eleven of us walked the  route by the Graveney Marshes where it is proposed to build thousands of solar panels which will be the height of double decker buses.  

We walked along the path next to the sea wall .

We stopped at various intervals to read the poetry that we had brought with us.  

We reflected and discussed the site around us and the complexity of making decisions about the site and processes which might  achieve the balance between wants and responsibilities.  We also talked about wider issues of personal responsibility with regard to our environment. 

It was wonderful to walk and share ideas with the wider group and also have conversations with individual walkers in such a beautiful surrounding.

Here a list of the poems fellow walkers brought with them and shared with the group:

Susan Emm : ‘White Hare’ from The Lost Words , Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris
‘Circles and Curves’ by Heather Ovenden
‘Climbing the Sky in Colours’ - poems from Wise Words for Wellbeing.

Virginia Fitch:  The Burial of the Dead from TS Eliot’s The Waste Land.

Sue McClymont  : ‘Field Women’ by Thomas Hardy

Elspeth (Billie) Penfold: ‘A breath’ from Owen Lowery’s Transition Poems https://weareunlimited.org.uk/commission/transitions/  (read by Laura Shawyer ),
 ‘inverted’ and ‘promenade’ from ‘The Art of Wa;lking’ by Sonia Overall http://www.soniaoverall.net/publications/the-art-of-walking-2/

Susan Sciama :  ‘Volcanic Paradox’ written by Susan Sciama

Jonathan Skinner : ‘ Common Yellow Throat’  written by Jonathan Skinner  https://poetsgulfcoast.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/skinnerz3.png


We then headed to the pub for lunch and reflection. 

We wrote some poetry and assembled our vara - ‘ Sumak Kawsay’, attaching our ropes and knots. 

We also wrote some individual responses to the walk included in the photograph below.

Save the date:

  You can see The Vara ‘Sumak Kawsay’  as a part of an exhibition with several of the varas representing 13 collaborative walks from the last four years.
These  have been selected as part of an
 exhibition  titled  ‘Contemporary Art and Ritual’ at the Crypt Gallery at St Pancras. 
May 16th - May 21st.

This exhibition has been curated by Deborah Burnstone and Caro Williams. 

With thanks to Anna Bowman for the fab photography  https://vimeo.com/annabowman
A huge thank you to all who came and walked and contributed to this event; Anna Bowman, Susan Emm, Virginia Fitch, Diana Lane, Sue McClymont, Julie Pickard, Susan Sciama, Laura Shawyer  Katherine Skinner, Jonathan Skinner.

 * Sumak Kawsay ( a quechua word)  “sumak kawsay promotes  ‘good living’ and interculturality…..(it) is centred in the indigenous world view, and it aims at overcoming the Western model of individuals thought and the dominant concepts of development centered in the market” , MARÍA FERNANDA CARTAGENA  ( Collective Situations , Readings in Contemporary Latin American Art , 1995 -2010, edited by BILL KELLEY JR. AND GRANT H. KESTER)