What a Tangled Web…

Week #5

A couple of years ago, I took a shop bought cake to a picnic. The cake was from Lidl. It was a perfectly nice carrot cake, which I pimped with some summer fruit – blueberries, raspberries…

I honestly hadn’t ever intended to pass it off as home baked, but when some of the picnickers mistakenly assumed it was, and made appreciative noises, the moment had passed when I could fess up. Suddenly, it was too late. As they smiled and licked their fingers and complimented me, it would have made them seem foolish: ‘you didn’t honestly think I’d made it, did you? Ha ha ha!’

So I sat it out.

So that was my teensy insight into what it felt like to do what the artist we met during WTC #5 had done. She had put a lot of blueberries on a very big Lidl carrot cake…

Hello, Please can you email me the opening times for the exhibition; I am planning to visit on Tuesday 26th with a small group of adults from the Mary Ward centre, where I teach creative writing. Thanks


Dear Claire, The opening hours are Wed to Sat 12pm to 6pm.  I am talking to the curator of the gallery tomorrow and will see if I can open up on Tuesday 26th for you. I could also ask one of the film makers to give a small talk, if you like, I’ll let you know and be in touch. And of course if you could change your day to a Wed of Thurs that would be good too!! very best wishes..


thanks for your reply. Not possible to change the day, I’m afraid as it is a Tuesday course…I found a leaflet on this exhibition at the Bishopsgate Institute and thought it sounded ideal for an outing. A talk would be amazing (though we have no budget, I am assuming the gallery does not charge admission, is that right?) We meet at a different venue at 11.30, spend some time gathering notes, and then reconvene at Mary Ward to share the writing later the same day – which I then archive in the blog. Thanks


Dear Claire, We are on for Tuesday November 26th.  I will be at the gallery from 11.30 onwards.  I have curated the show and can show people round/give a little talk if need be!! All the best


Brilliant! Thank you so much, I think they will love it. I’ll arrange for them to be there Tuesday week, 11.30. 


Really looking forward to tomorrow. I’m expecting 8 adult students; I’ve given them directions to meet at the gallery 11.30. 

They have no idea what they will be seeing (and I make it a rule that they don’t research ahead) It will be great if you can give a little talk/show them around. I’m devising the prompts for them them to write from, following their visit – I was thinking about making notes based on what they see and what they learn from you/glean from the film (if it is showing?) and then to write about how we manifest emotions – failure, disappointment, guilt – using the language of what we physically have to hand… Any thoughts?!


That sounds great!

Have you researched Joseph B at all?


Only what is on the site


Ok. Beware, there is a twist in the tail/tale!!


Excellent. I have been curious about 6 Pillars (I always thought it was Lubetkin) for a long time, having discovered it whilst blackberrying in Dulwich Woods, and I recently wrote about my disillusionment after visiting Tate’s Art Under Attack, and realising how some suffragettes were implicated in rise of Fascism. Previous excursions have covered the Finchley Health Centre – so we are kind of in the zone….


(no reply)


Thank you so much for the extraordinary happening you provided us with yesterday. It was jaw droppingly special, and we all agreed we’d remember it for a long long time… 

We had a lot to say about the whole alter-ego thing, and the why’s and how’s – but 2 main questions remained, and I wonder if you can give us your thoughts – 
How does the general public experience the exhibition? Do they also get the ‘reveal’, or leave none the wiser?
And – a more probing one – if you are such a shy person, what possessed you to do something that is ultimately so exposing and takes a great deal of show-womanship and a whole entourage of collaborators?
And finally – was it really a veneer factory? Sounds too good to be true. (You see, we don’t trust anything now…)
look forward to the continuing debate… Best, Claire
BOSHIER FLYER Boshier flyer reverse

*For reasons that cannot be explained here, this correspondence has been edited, and certain details have been withheld.

See the page: The Veneer Factory for our responses to what turned out to be one of the most astonishing WTC’s so far.


About claire collison

Writer, photographer, creative facilitator, and breast cancer survivor, I am currently Artist in Residence at the Women's Art Library (WAL) My first novel was a finalist in the Dundee Book Prize, and my short stories and poetry have appeared in print and online. In 2015 I was awarded second place in the inaugural Resurgence Prize, the world's first eco poetry competition, judged by Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. This blog began as a space for words generated on my walking/writing workshops at the Mary Ward centre in Bloomsbury - Writing the City (WTC). WTC has since grown to include many other venues, including the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Barbican, the River Rom, Southwark Woods, Aylesbury Estate, and most recently, as part of Walking Women festival, An Intimate Tour of Breasts. I have worked with Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, as the recipient of the first Max Reinhardt Literacy Award, designing teaching resources; and for The Photographers' Gallery, helping school children develop visual literacy as part of 'Seeing More Things'. If you would like me to design a workshop or walk for you, please be in touch!
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