The best of Bromley by Bow Centre on display at art open day

ARTISTS working out of the Bromley by Bow Centre opened their doors to the public on November 19 for what is their biggest-selling day of the year.

The centre in St Leonards Street, which was founded in 1984, welcomed visitors from experienced buyers to the mildly curious to look at and buy works by sculptors, painters and clothes designers.

Members of the public were able to walk in and out of studio spaces, which sit alongside a church, a health centre and other community groups.

Stained glass artist Paul Shaw, 52, of Bancroft Road, first came to the centre when he was placed on secondment as a civil service worker.

He was soon working there full-time.

He said: “It’s made a big difference to me.

“10 years ago if you’d asked me, I’d have said I’d still be working in an office.

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“It’s such a complete change and it’s down to this place.”

He also runs a group called Young@Art, which provides weekly art lessons for older people, ranging in age from the mid-60s to 100.

One member, Ann Lloyd, 86, who lives in Deptford, proudly showed off a quilt made by the group and her section of it, which she made from her 1948 wedding dress.

Paul said: “For some of them, they won’t have done art since they were at school, so that could be 60 years ago.”

Another artist grabbing the opportunity to talk visitors through her work, in particular the geology of it, was sculptor Paula Haughney.

Her sculptures include a sleek, elegant-looking swan made from limestone, sunbathing figures and the 300-kilo rabbit she was currently working on, which had taken her three weeks.

Her Ram and Magpie sculpture, commissioned in 1996, sits in Allen Gardens in Buxton Street, Bethnal Green and another piece called Dock Hands has its home at the junction of Freemasons Road and Coolfin Road in the Docklands.

Paula, 51, of Adelina Grove, said: “You’re not cut off from the community here, you can speak to everyone.”

The centre, which is run as a registered charity, also hosted the launch of the Artychoke range, garden-related craft products made by Working Wonders, a social enterprise group for vulnerable adults and people with learning disabilities.

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