Events Walthamstow

Walthamstow Market ‘guardian’ unveiled this weekend

Kirsty McNeil from Artillery on a new public sculpture coming to the High Street
By Waltham Forest Echo

Sculptor Sandie with a previous work (credit: Sandie M Sutton)
Sculptor Sandie with a previous work (credit: Sandie M Sutton)

An exciting new sculpture is being unveiled in the town centre this month to act as a “guardian” of the famous Walthamstow Market.

The Walthamstow Griffin was created by local sculptor Sandie M Sutton with the help of us at arts organisation Artillery and funding from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

The wall-mounted sculpture will be unveiled on the corner of Carisbrooke Road and the High Street on 3rd December, amid a special Winter Feast to celebrate its arrival.

Sculptor Sandie approached Artillery after being inspired by the wall-mounted dragons that decorate Chinatown in central London.

She said: “I thought we really should have something like that in Walthamstow but we needed to find the right idea to fit this area.

“[I and Laura from Artillery] both like the griffins[…] at the St James Street end of the market and the more we researched the mythology of these incredible creatures, the more we realised how much they fitted with the High Street.

“Many traders carried representations of them because they were seen to bring good fortune and to be protectors of gold and gold can be symbolic of all sorts of things.”

For Sandie, whose family were market traders, the Griffin “symbolises a guardian of things that we treasure and [the market] is definitely something we should treasure”.

A keen environmentalist, Sandie’s work entails using plastic waste to create sculptures of animals, particularly endangered species.

She added: “Using things that already exist is important – most of the items I’m using to make the Griffin came from the local area.

“I find a lot of it on the street from fly tipping, a lot of stuff has been donated and some I collected from charity shops so it’s saved, rather than thrown away.”

The Griffin was funded with a grant from the Mayor of London’s “Untold Stories” initiative, which aims to create London landmarks honouring the less widely recognised contributions to the success of the city.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Sandie’s parents were market traders in Walthamstow.