#Thread and Word

An Artist Led Walk by Elspeth Penfold Sunday March 5th 2017

1.00p.m. – 3.00p.m.

Meet: Threads Exhibition, Espacio Gallery
159 Bethnal Green Rd. E2 7DG
Finish: Leadenhall Market

“It (art) consists not in showing the invisible, but rather showing the extent to which the invisibility of the visible is invisible.”
‘(In)Visible Spaces of Equality’, Annette Krauss

As a part of the Threads exhibition we will walk along a route that will take us from the gallery to Leadenhall Market past some of the artworks of Sculpture in the City, including the work of the Peruvian artist Lizi Sanchez, ‘Cadenetas’ .

We will use sited readings of Cecilia Vicuña’s poem Word and Thread. Through participatory interventions along the walk, we will openly and collaboratively celebrate the threads that bring us together.

image: Naya Eleftheriou , collage

With thanks to:

Jennifer Deakin- Artist Photography
Judy Dermott – Research, and writing: Women
Centred Modernism
Keith Grossmith- Poem, ‘The Word’s the Thread’
Virginia Fitch – Research and readings
Hazel Mountford- Research and reading
Julia Riddiough – Walking Mantra
Esperanza Gomez-Carrera – Performance Voices
Naya Eleftheriou – A Recital of Ithaca
Performance Voices
Helen Peacock – Performance What’s Left Behind
Jennifer Harkins – Research
Sheelah Mahalath Bewley – Research
Veronika Marsh – Performance The Journey
Allan Struthers – Performance ’Seen Not Heard:
The Choice of Listening to Objects’
Jill Rock – Performance ‘Sprang’

Elspeth will be offering all walkers the opportunity to record the experience of the walk through making knots in ropes which she will make for this walk .

“Wayfaring – threading our way through the tangled streets and spaces of London stopping to reflect with Threads and Words as we unravel knots at the sculptures on the way, rhyzomatic as we
meander from place to place free from linear fixities”
Jill Rock

A “Caligrama” of Cecilia Vicuña’s poem in Spanish. Designed following a circular walk from Espacio Gallery to Leadenhall Market.
by Esperanza Gómez-Carrera

If you wish to find out more about the walks and my art practice please visit

If you would like to take part in future walks please contact me, [email protected]


A Walk for Terminalia with Thread and Word – Some context for our walk .

This walk takes place February 23rd in Seasalter, on the Kent Coast.
Terminalia Festival of Psychogeography

you can check the festival out and find us under events.

Here an artefact I have , inherited from my mother, depicting Inti the God of the Sun.

As I prepare for this walk with Thread and Word there are some connections that I have made over the last week that have contributed to my thinking about this walk that I thought would be worth sharing. I mostly carry these ideas around in my head and have found that writing these ideas down does clarify my thinking as I try to explain them. Although I have to admit some ideas are a leap of faith and associated with feelings you carry in your heart as you will no doubt gather if you read this.

The first has been connecting my thoughts about the solar panels proposed for the landscape in Seasalter with the Inca deity’ s Inti, the God of the Sun, and Mama Pacha, Mother Earth .

This photo was taken in Reculver today, and it made me think.

I was born in Bolivia and grew up in Lima, Peru. At school we learnt about the Incas probably in the same way as children in England learn about the Romans. So I tend to draw on this bank of knowledge using the mythic method, a method identified by TS Eliot and James Joyce, which draws on myth from the past as a way to help us connect with the present.

A few days ago I walked in Seasalter and thought about how important it is to feel this connection with the earth and the sun. In Peru there are no figures for Mother Earth (Mama Pacha), aside for those made to sell to tourists, as Andean people believe she can be felt in every place, at every moment and in every living being. Where do the thousands of solar panels proposed for the site we will be walking in Seasalter fit in to this scenario, I wonder?

Andean people still believe strongly in the importance of living in harmony with nature and not taking too much from Pachamama. How will Mother Earth change if the rays of the sun are diverted from the land and harnessed as energy ? I am not against a greener energy but as I walked I wondered how much energy do we really need? Should we reflect on our role as consumers ? Where are the boundaries to our consumption?

There are ten of us walking to celebrate Terminus, the Roman God of boundaries.

‘ Terminus was one of the really old Roman -gods – he didn’t have a statue, he was a stone marker ” (see Terminalia website)

We will be reading poetry, listening to music and meditatively knotting ropes. I have made the ropes for this walk by hand in my studio.

This practice also derives from my knowledge of the Incas and the records that they kept through a system of knotted ropes called Quipus. To this day the village members, who are trained in their roles as Quipucamayocs in villages in the Andes, are able to read the knotted ropes that our text based society is unable to translate. Although there are theories and explanations offered by researchers and anthropologists there is still a mystery in the artefacts which I makes me think that we can’t predict or explain everything. Some things come from your inner feeling and relationships with the earth.

We will reflect on our thoughts at the end of the walk when we attach our knotted ropes to our Vara ( Pole) . Below is the Vara I have made for this walk with a strap that I have woven on an inkle loom . The weave is symbolic of the land we will be walking around and I will explain this on the walk.

A Vara for Terminalia

This Vara (Pole) will then join the collection of 12 Varas in my studio.

I have been leading walks and assembling these Varas since 2015. Each Vara holds the ropes knotted as a record of a particular walk which I have led supported by friends, academics and artists.

I would like to thank all those who are joining me on this walk and giving their support in making the Vara contributing to an exchange of ideas, meditative knotting and poetry writing in the pub at the end. This is the first time we will take the Vara on the walk with us and then put the ropes on to the Vara together as a group. I usually take the ropes back to my studio and then assemble it there on my own. I think it will add to the ritual of the walk and am looking forward to seeing how this develops.

I am hoping that our poetry writing will be taking a leaf out of ecopoetics as described by the founder of the ecopoetics journal Dr Jonathan Skinner (Warwick University).

Ecopoetics Journal

Jonathan will be joining us on this walk. We will be locating our poem in and through the ‘site’ rather than kinds of ‘writing’:

“Taking writing out of the classroom, the bookstore and the library even out of the book itself shifting the focus from themes and styles to an institutional critique of green discourse itself and to an array of practices converging on the oikos, the planet earth that is the only home our species currently knows”(1).

I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with.

Looking forward to celebrating Terminalia with you all on Saturday!


By way of an explanation, we will be celebrating Terminalia with Thread and Word in Seasalter through a walk with poetry readings ( you are welcome to bring a contribution) and the meditative knotting of ropes. I will supply the ropes.

Our intention is to explore the liminal space that surrounds us .In Seasalter.there is a proposal to cover the area we will be walking with 1.000’s of solar panels as tall as double decker buses .

The word liminal comes from the Latin word limen, meaning threshold – any point or place of entering or beginning. A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing.

It is suggested that we should get there as often as we can and stay there as long as we can ….

Liminal space is where all transformation takes place, if we learn to wait and let it form us.

The act of walking and knotting ropes will allow us to think about where we are now and how our world might be transformed .

We will document this experience on a Vara ( see photo below of nine Varas from previous walks wit Thread and Word )

The weave for our Terminalia Vara is in the photos alongside. We will be attaching our ropes to the Vara at the end of the walk ( in the pub 😊) .

Looking forward to walking and sharing this ex[erience with some of you on February 23rd.

For more about this event you can check out my previous blog posting!

for tickets:Terminalia tickets


Here a cement block which will be part of our walk in Seasalter celebrating the Roman God of Boundaries Terminus.

Terminalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the god Terminus, who presided over boundaries. His statue was merely a stone or post stuck in the ground.

This walk is organised with the intention of gathering people together at a designated site, with the purpose of considering difficult choices and where we draw the line. We will walk and ponder through poetry readings and a meditative knotting of threads.

For information about this walk:

Terminalia Festival

You are invited to walk with us through Thread and Word while we ponder on difficult decisions . None of this is easy!

Here is the site for our walk, but it might look more like the image below:

The walk is free but numbers will be limited. Please email me : [email protected] if you would like to join us.

For more about Thread and Word please visit the facebook page:Thread and Word




A Walk with Shrines, unwrapping, revealing and reflecting.

Elaina Arkeooll reflects on her Ofrenda’ Blue Beard’s box’, Guy Debord and The Book of Proverbs

We unwrapped Elaina’s offering on site, creating our own performative ritual through the unwrapping.

As Ofrendas were placed on shrines we rang a bell to create a moment to reflect on the process.

Here an offering by Elaina who, although unable to join the walk, created an insightful response both to the book The Hoarder by Jess Kidd and the process we were engaged in.

Elaina’s words:

‘Blue Beard’s Box- a response to ‘The Hoarder’ by Jess Kidd

The thread that winds from my practice to this show, and Elspeth’s, Ofrendas ‘ at Margate Bookie / Margate Festival, is cast outwards from ‘The Society of the Spectacle’ Guy Debord.

I share with Guy Debord the dubious reputation of committing a detournement with the wisdom of The Book of Proverbs 16 ;27-29

27 Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.[a]
28 An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends.
29 Wickedness loves company—and leads others into sin.[b]

It might be said that a hoarder barricades the corporeal self within a fortress of things that all become, after the passage of time, and the weavery of cobwebs and whispers of settling dust, of equal weight and value.

The slightest disturbance to the accretions may prove fatal to the fragile reality the hoarder has constructed whereby to withstand the passage of time.

This is Bluebeard’s Box, occupied by remnants of a brassiere, white ankle socks, the collected dander of an electrician’s beard, saved for many months and saturated with the odour of nicotine, a random scrap of lurid nylon stuff, and 1.25mm enamelled copper wire, two or three strands of an ‘cat gut’ saturated with rosin……..a box labelled Evidence addressed to Attilla the rest of the address redacted …….

It proposes that whitewashing never conceals stains without trace. It implicates the cleansing brush of revelation and the implications of exposure and the subsequent consequences.’


Proverbs 16:27 Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece, literally, “A worthless man devises mischief; and in his lips there is a scorching fire.”
Proverbs 16:29 Wickedness loves company—and leads others into sin, or “An evil man deceives his neighbor and leads him into loss.”

A Walk with Shrines was part of Margate Festival 2018:Now, which was funded by Turner Contemporary, Dreamland and Kent County Council.



A Walk with Shrines on Vimeo


Drawing inspiration from Dee Heddon’s walking libraries and the book Home Altars of New Mexico, Thread and Word’s Walking Shrines is a walk which takes you on a journey through books, poetry, Margate and the passion and following these engender.

At selected spots in Margate books were introduced and then a small shrine was made and marked with a moment of contemplation, expressing our gratitude to the authors, their books and Margate for the community and the difference this collaborative engagement can make to our lives.

Here a link to Sonia’s reflections as a writer, talking about authors, walking, readers and how to encourage a deepening relationship with literature. A huge thank you Sonia.

Sonia Overall reflects

Sonia Overall is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Canterbury Christ Church University and Associate Lecturer at the Open University. She brings this experience into her comments and insights on the process she engaged in for A Walk with Shrines.

Sonia has a strong interest in form, intertextuality and the narrative possibilities of place. She has written and abridged work for street theatre and has published two novels, A Likeness and The Realm of Shells.

She is an avid psychogeographer, a practice explored creatively in her poems The Art of Walking (Shearsman) and Drift Deck of cards for psychogeographers, through ongoing academic research and public and invited walks.

She is the founder of Women Who Walk, a network of women who use walking in their creative and academic practice, and creator of the Priory Labyrinth in Canterbury. Her recent walking projects include ‘Walking with Women’s Suffrage in Margate’ with composer Lillian Henley for the POW! Thanet festival; Walk Ways, a sustainability campus project; and ‘O what we ben!’, with Anglo Saxon scholar Mike Bintley for the Being Human Festival. She is currently working on a book exploring psychogeographical pilgrimage.

A Walk with Shrines was part of Margate Festival 2018:Now,
which was funded by Turner Contemporary,
Dreamland and Kent County Council.