Swing music greets you as you enter The Takeaway Shop, Amy Lord’s interactive art project. A gallery and educational space in one room, it brings together the art of bookbinding and bookmaking with the history of Deptford. Here you can make a book, have some tea and learn about what happened in an area rich with past delights and drama.
“I found loads of relics around Deptford and wanted to know where they had come from. People would tell me snippets about Deptford. They knew about the Russian Tsar living here and the author of King Kong being brought up here,” said Lord, 26, from Lewisham way.
From murder to bread riots, from the New Cross station fire in 1844 to tea and coffee merchants, Deptford’s full historical splendour is on show. But Lord’s project is not just about what she has found.
“Ideally I want people to bring photos I can copy and scan so the archive grows over time,” she explained.
With me were two freelance illustrators. Nick Marsh, 24, from Bow, got stuck in with the glue gun and some green and purple fabric. He said: “It’s a lot of fun. It gives you an excuse to play, and it’s nice to vent creativity.”
Cutting up pictures to put in his book, Richard Baker, 25, from Clapham explained why he came to the Takeaway Shop: “I moved to London about two months ago and wanted to get involved in more creative activities and meet some creative people.
“It just seemed pretty cool, to get involved and learn about the history of London.”
Funded by Arts Council England and IdeasTap, the artist’s project began to take shape in September last year: “I was seeing Deptford X [a contemporary visual arts festival from July to September] around the corner and I came to something here at number82.
“I’d been looking for a space to do a pop-up thing for a while and at the empty shops in Deptford, but no matter how many letting agents I spoke to, they said, ‘no I can’t get you in touch with the owner’.”
Originally from Newcastle, Lord moved to Lewisham a year ago having lived elsewhere in London. She studied theatre and performance design at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and has been interested in art since she was a child.
“I used to make a lot of mood-boards and things like that. My mum was generally quite crafty with me and we used to make puppets.”
The Takeaway Shop is based at number82, an independent project venue that offers exhibition space as well as development and education programmes. They also provide support for creative projects like Lord’s.
She hopes to do more workshops at schools after the project ends. It will serve up its last session on Friday, so catch it while you can.
The Takeaway Shop is open until January 27, 10.30am to 6.30pm on weekdays, 12-5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information about Lord and the project, visit www.amy-lord.com.