ELTA: Re-envisioning John Frederick Lewis


A year-long Outreach project to create an exhibition of work by Guild members and East London Textile Arts along the theme of John Frederick Lewis and Orientalism. This work forms part of the Watts Gallery exhibition about John Frederick Lewis in September to November 2019 and transferred to the Art Workers’ Guild in November 2019 to February 2020.

The Octagon coat: 
Made with over 200 octagons, embroidered by over 60 people, it took a year to create. 
Designed and finished by Sonia Tuttiett. 
Image © Elle Sillanpaa

Aims of project

The project aims to show the highest levels of craftsmanship in an exhibition about important complex contemporary issues in partnership with grassroots craft organisations, museums and educational institutions. Most importantly, it will nurture an understanding of the value of craft in contemporary life and how it is made.

The project takes Guild members’ expertise out into ethnic communities in East London. The partnership with the Watts Gallery provides professional curating, and museum space to show work. Links have been made with academic institutions and art historians, thus increasing an awareness of contemporary arts and crafts amongst leading cultural and educational institutions.

If you would like to know more, please contact Celia Ward.

Past Events

Exhibition - Re-envisioning John Frederick Lewis - Interpretations in craft and architecture
Monday 25 November 2019 - Saturday 15 February 2020 at the Art Workers’ Guild
OPEN DAYS - The Exhibition will be open to the public from Thursday 6 - Saturday 8 February, 11am - 5.30pm

Outreach/ELTA evening conversation 

Wednesday 29 January 2020 at the Art Workers’ Guild

Embroidery Workshop and Talk.
Saturday 08 February 2020, 11 am - 4 pm at the Art Workers’ Guild

Exhibition - The Octagon Project: East London Textile Arts 

Until Sunday 3 November 2019 at the Watts Gallery

Outreach/ELTA evening conversation – Gendered Space

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Open Evening/Work in Progress for Re-envisioning John Frederick Lewis - Interpretations in craft and architecture Exhibition 

Thursday 14 March 2019, 6-9pm at the Art Workers’ Guild

Outreach/ELTA lunchtime Conversation 
Wednesday 30 January 2019 at the Art Workers’ Guild

About the partners

The Watts Gallery is an international centre which engages with mid-19th to early 20th-century art, social history, craft, design and architecture, and the exploration of its relevance in our lives.

East London Textile Arts are a participatory crafts project based in Newham, East London, working with diverse groups of all abilities on a long-term developmental basis building a wide range of skills within communities.


This project was made possible through funding from:

National Lottery Awards for All
The Art Workers’ Guild
The de Laszlo Foundation
The John Cutforth Charitable Trust

and through the support of:

Little Ilford Baptist Church
East Ham Community Neighbourhood Centre and Library
The Good Support Group Limited