Hello, we’re Gemma Lloyd and Jeni Walker-Lawes.
We both run art classes in Tooting and properly met in a sweaty gym and this is where Meet and Make Spaces was created.
Meet and Make is about ensuring everyone in Tooting has access to creative events. It’s about promoting and collaborating with many of the incredible *artists in the area and it’s enabling the whole of our community to create together.
*artists means everyone that creates: chefs, writers, musicians, athletes, singers, actors, dancers, directors, producers, historians, librarians painters, illustrators, makers……
We run our events in different locations, as well of course online right now and when we grow up we’d love our own space so we can return all the incredible hospitality we’ve received.
A bit about Gemma. I trained at Cheltenham and Camberwell Art Colleges, a foundation course and a degree in ceramics. Then moved onto an MA in film & television design at Kingston University and quite a few jewellery courses at John Cass. A career in the arts, including producing in film & theatre, facilitating many workshops, five years as an actors agent and more recently co-owning Love Art in Tooting Market, all the time making my own art.
I firmly believe everyone can draw, will prove it to you and have lived in Tooting for over 20 years and love it, it must seem a crazy place if you don’t know it and ART – Everyone should have access to some form of art, it’s so important for everything.
A bit about Jeni
When I joined Transition Town Tooting to put on the Trashcatchers CarnivaI I simply wanted to make my love of Making Stuff into a Proper Job, It quickly became obvious to me that it was much more than that.
2010, Tooting High street, a giant Sankofa Bird weaved with strings of brightly coloured plastic, carefully collected by the people of Tooting strides boldly, leading a carnival of giant characters down the car-free road.
I have come to understand and build the idea that creativity is a way of learning that is often denied to minds of all ages and this work facilitates communication between people who may not meet but need to understand each other to build a more sustainable future together.
It has also been massive amounts of fun, of course, to escort a Giant Lady of Tooting down the high street, turn the Bus Turning Circle into a village green for the day and witness the creation of a bonkers flock of birds at Tooting Market
Seeking out and cherishing the spaces where creativity can exist, and then thrive is how I see this newest chapter of this work forming. Meet & Make spaces sees our high street changing and sees chances emerging to shape a local story of fun and creativity.
Vijaya Fatimathas – the overseer. Gemma and I met while trying to get our core strength in shape at Pilates. I came from a corporate background having qualified as an accountant with one of the Big 4; our worlds could not be more different and yet a beautiful friendship has blossomed.
This is the core of what I think art can do, break down barriers and contect people. I am a firm believer in the arts as I think they nourish the soul, the body and the mind of the creator and the viewer /participator.
In its highest form art engages everyone. Allowing you to go beyond societal boundaries and barriers that have been taught and learnt. Enabling us to connect emotionally and viscerally with each other.
It is from this place that I believe we can rebuild connections and move forward together as a society taking positive action for the good of our global tribe.