October 28, 2017
It’s a Ceramic Thing

When SIDESHOW Showcase curator Katie Fotis approached ceramist Yanire Delgado to be involved in the second installment of the exhibition series Makers’ Movements, being a ceramist, Delgado initially wasn’t sure what pieces she had that could be included or fit in with the Makers’ Movements process. As well as that, the concept of the exhibitions at SIDESHOW is for the public to interact with the makers work and what Delagado creates is fragile. However, she’d recently been experimenting with mixed media and among many other things, she began to create these ceramic masks, which she describes to be more like three dimensional portraits and inevitably decided that the exhibition would be a great opportunity to incorporate them in to.

“After I showed Katie what I was working on, we came up with the idea of making a hall of masks where visitors can choose one that represents them better in that moment and take a picture to share it with the world. Exhibiting in this way is a bit scary because with people getting this close to the ceramics, there’s more likelyhood of accidents happening, but it is a risk that I am happy to take. I believe an artist work need to interact with the public – that is it’s real purpose.”

“The masks are made out of 2 types of clay – Grogged White Clay and White Clay. I don’t use moulds for this work so they were handmade one-by-one. I use a roller to flatten the clay and as soon as I start doing this the face and character of the masks start appearing. I then use different tools to make incisions and other details like eyes or noses. The temperature that you use to fire is dependent on the type of clay that you choose to work with and the final effect that you are looking for.”

These masks are inspired by contemporary culture and also by the of South American and South African Tribes, cultures that she has a strong admiration for.Yani discovered a whole new love when creating these masks. The two moments she enjoyed particularly about the making process for this exhibition was when it came to decorating them and then when she finally saw them all together. It also introduced her to a new technique she’d never utilised before.

“One of the challenges I faced during the process was when I choose the wrong type of clay and the mask broke. I did some research and discovered a Japanese technique called ‘kintsugi’ that uses gold and resin to glue back broken pieces of clay. I applied the idea and it looked fantastic, better than before in fact because it gave it more character. The Japanese idea of mending the ceramic is to emphasise the beauty in the broken parts. They believe that when something gets damaged and has history, it makes it more beautiful and the same goes for human beings. I love that entire concept, so in the end, I was actually happy that the clay broke.”

Being involved in the exhibition for Delgado had her going from feeling like her work didn’t fit the brief, to being able to express her work in a brand new format and she explains beautifully the importance of knowing the maker’s movements when you’re looking at maker’s work.

“When you see a final product you don’t see what was involved in the process – the time involved in planning, drawing, researching, trying and failing, you only see that it is finished and beautiful. Well, the maker’s movements is important to all because it walks us through what it takes to do a final product and also allows us to enjoy playing with it.”

Delgado has had an incredible time experimenting with new styles, materials and methods, and taking on some new projects including an the ceramic tile painting workshops for kids that  she has been running at SIDESHOW and an upcoming one for adults called Night on the Tiles, an opportunity for adults to be creatively expressive, in a relaxed environment.


The Makers’ Movements exhibition isn’t just for you all to enjoy but great for other makers to see the jounrey of the work of others. Delgado herself says, “I love all of them, they are so individual! I admire the idea of making joints out of plastic bottles as Micaella does on her furniture. Yesenia’s film Anthropocene was insightful, delicate and so well produced. The stool from Group Design‘s display is fantastic, you really can appreciate the methodology involved in making that piece. Finally the Wobbly Peyote is a great design/toy/decorative element for adults in the form of a cactus that will never die.”

You can catch Yani’s work and all the work of the other makers involved in the Makers’ Movements exhibition at until 18th Nov. Don’t forget to check out the fun workshops we have going on too on our What’s On page.

September 29, 2017
The Downlow on Sideshow

Can you believe it’s been almost two months since the grand opening? Many coffees have been sold, beers have been bought and there’s even been another party, but there has also been workshop after workshop here at SIDESHOW.

We kicked off our series workshops in this colourful new space with Bird Business, a ceramic tile painting workshop for kids, which was last in the series of our Make Stuff Club classes in collaboration with William Morris Big Local.

This workshop was lead by the wonderful Sylva Ceramics where she lead the children in a study on birds,  got them to sketch and paint some designs before going on to drawing and painting their designs onto the tiles themselves. The tiles were then taken to get fired in the kiln, giving them a glossy glazed coating. There were some wonderful images created, one child even came ready with their own design of their favourite bird, a phoenix!

Second up, we had the Cajon: Make and Play workshop led by Percussion Teacher Fred McLaren and Blackhorse Member Tim Worsley. Never heard of a cajon before? Originally from Peru and based off of the snare drum, this box shaped percussion instrument, most commonly made from plywood, is played by slapping the front or rear faces with hands, fingers, brushes, or sticks. Mainly played in contemporary styles of Jazz, Flemenco and Afro-Peruvian music, the cajón has slowly made it’s way as a popular instrument to play in acoustic pop and mainstream music.

Using pre-cut ply and nailing each panel together, Tim and Fred wanted to make the workshop to include a bit of woodworking with some creative input into by giving it their own personalised look and of course it wouldn’t have been complete with out a drumming lesson and jamming session too.

Next in the pipeline was our Open House workshop with EHK! Architects for Open House London – a city-wide celebration of architecture, places and pockets of London and this workshop was all about paper crafts. Both Blackhorse Workshop and SIDESHOW had the opportunity of being included in buildings to visit for Open House Weekend in the Waltham Forest borough so it was a perfect time for the designers of SIDESHOW themselves to come and host a workshop.

People were invited to create a paper cut out diorama stage set of Walthamstow’s industrial past and bright future, which where then joined together to make a full stage set.

Last weekend we had celebrated artist and designer Lola Lely conduct a symphony of making in her Musical Mobiles workshop, guiding people in creating a beautiful sculptural object using an assortment of materials, by combining colour, shape and texture to create a finished mobile that responds to it’s environment.

What’s up next? We have more workshops taking place this Autumn including an array of workshops over half term for the kids. To keep up to date and book a place to get your craft on, take a look on our What’s On page, to see what tickles your fancy.

Alongside that, the new Showcase exhibition will be launching next week called Maker’s Movements and we’ll be interviewing one of the exhibiting makers in our next blog post. They’ll be an opening night complete with bar, street food and a live DJ on Thurs 5th Oct at 6.30pm. Until then, morning coffees are served as usual Mon to Sat and the bar is open every Thurs and Fri.

August 21, 2017
Hello Sideshow!


What. A. Party! A humongous thank you to every single person that helped us welcome SIDESHOW into life! From Cllr Clare Coghill from Waltham Forest Council and Matthew Weiner from U+I for their kind speeches, to the wonderful Mbilla Arts Group and Wheel Up Sound System for entertaining us with the and providing some foot popping beats which definitely help set the vibe for the evening, along with Victory GinWildcard Brewery and MyPie for the delicious food and chilled beverages on what was a lovely summer’s evening for a party!

We had the wonderful Simon Way shooting for us thorough out evening, so take a look through this album of snippets.

Photographs © Simon Way

June 22, 2017
Interview with Toby Poolman, Marble Run Designer

Blackhorse Workshop is known for putting on creative spectacles and it was only natural for the team to design an interactive and visual marvel for Sideshow. We sat down with Toby Poolman, the designer and mastermind being the giant marble run, to hear more about the project.

“U+I and Blackhorse Workshop wanted a spectacle that would engage the local community. We also wanted to create something that promoted the workshop locally and in the wider area.”

Speaking about his response when he was first approached with the concept of the build, Toby told us:

“I was excited at the creative freedom of this blank canvas with a site with such an interesting heritage.”

With a structure and space that could facilitate a number of possibilities, one could only ask, why a marble run? To which Toby replied: 

“the playfulness of Blackhorse Workshop projects to date combined with the desire to create a fun place for kids to enjoy, got us thinking about kinetic sculptures, participatory installations and arcade games”.

For both U+I and the team at Blackhorse Workshop, the desired outcome and reaction from the public through the marble run isn’t for it to become a one-off fun and interactive experience, but for it to become an attraction to which people return. “The main hope is that children enjoy operating the run and return for repeat visits, encouraging a  fascination with its moving parts”.

The marble run will open from 16th August, and continue to develop throughout the project.