Curious SE27 Art Trail

Curious SE27 Art Trail

An exciting new project from Feast and Station to Station – showcasing artists in local shops & venues from Knight’s Hill to Tulse Hill
More information on the artists and their works can be found at the individual venues
All dates 3rd–30th September unless otherwise stated

1 Roseberys Auction House
A curated selectionof contemporary art by South London-based artists.
18th–30th September

2 Maddisons
Cass Kirchner’s atmospheric narrative boxes made from found and lost objects from the past can be viewed in the window.

3 Portico Gallery
Presents Chilean artist Rodrigo Luna.

4 Art & Craft
Drawings and paintings by Hugh Gilmour and ceramic sculptures by Jane Millar.

5 Otter Trading
Works on paper by Agnieszka Stando.

6 The Great North Wood, upstairsrestaurant room
Bone china printed plates by artist Robert Dawson.

7 The Book & Record Bar
Signs in Motion Prints, paintings and mobiles by Yair Meshoulam and Martin Grover.

8 St Lukes Church
A selection of large paintings by Curious SE27 artists.

9 Floral Hall
Ceramic sculptures by Emma Fenelon.

10 Mosaic Workshop
Come and view a variety of mosaic artworks on display at Mosaic Workshop as well as lots of other mosaic materials on 3rd September.

11 Bon Velo
Duncan McAfee is showing small sculptures and 2D works.

12 Northwood Estate Agents
Prints by Lucy Bainbridge.

13 Knowles of Norwood
Local artist Tomas Stando will show his work in the lounge area of Knowles. PLUS Artists from Bainbridge Studios show their work on the easels in a one-day event for FEAST on 3rd September.

14 Beamish & McGlue
Julia McKenzie creates paper cut poetry and laser cut gardens for the windows.

15 POP West Norwood
Marc Elmes creates an art work for the window. Opening 3rd September.

16 The circular planters on Norwood Road south of Elmcourt Road
Poetry Slabs presents: Man of Letters, A concrete poetry work on the ground – just add water.

17 Lantana Estates, next to Tulse Hill Station
Paintings and textile media artworks by Phil Dobson and Jane Campbell.
Opens Monday 4th September to 30th September


WeNo Insiders Guide To…B’s Balloons!


Introducing B’s Balloons, West Norwood’s very own balloon and party suppliers, nestled on the corner of Bloom Grove opposite the cemetery. Our intrepid FEAST reporter stepped through the cheery bright-pink door to talk balloons with owner Bev and business partner Julie.

The first question had to be: “How did you get into this line of business?” Bev explains how she started by decorating family parties, making a room look good by adding floral centrepieces, dressing the tables, and positioning shaped balloons. She can still recall her very first centrepiece consisting of a candle holder, floristry ribbon, gyp and a rose. In 2003 she completed a wedding decorating course and took a beginners course with NABAS (the National Association of Balloon Artists and Suppliers).

After the introduction to balloon work, she began using helium for displays, and it has gone from there, with Bev working for a shop in Fulham in 2008, doing the decoration for celebrations, and running her own business from home and in Croydon’s Surrey Street market. In 2010 Bev finally obtained the current premises. Being on the corner, the shop boasts two display windows – one of which Bev constantly redresses to showcase balloon creations. Bev smiles… passersby have been known to come in to compliment an arrangement or suggest it’s time for a new one! She remembers displaying a cumbersome Union Jack flag made of balloons for the Queen’s Jubilee.

It became clear as the conversation progressed that there is a whole specialist world of balloon artistry that most of us don’t know about. Julie mentioned she has been twice to the International Balloon Artistry Convention, travelling to Chicago and Belgium to join the annual showcase of balloon sculptures. At the Belgian conference, she created an Egyptian Eye of Horus in a competition. Apparently the Japanese are known for creating balloon dresses… Julie swivelled the computer screen to show our intrigued reporter – you have to Google it! Bev comments “Julie excels at twisting” and they flipped open an industry magazine, Balloon Images, to demonstrate the type of creations demanding twisting. Bev has also made fantasy flowers just out of balloon latex. The day-to-day running of the business keeps Bev busy for long hours… particularly when they are decorating for a function – so much so that the next module of her Certified Balloon Artistry course is on the back burner, but Julie has completed the extensive training. 

So, what has been the most memorable order? Bev pauses… 2,000 balloons for a film set about three years ago. The shoot was in Dulwich so she hired a van to deliver the balloons. It took six hours for two of them to hand-tie each balloon with a ribbon! Bev has also provided decorations to Stella McCartney… she thought it was a prank call until she was given the address. Generally, the most common, large, special occasion orders are for arches or columns of balloons.

Aside from balloons, the shop sells the other items you might need for a celebration. You can order personalised banners, and buy cards, children’s birthday party ware, confetti, and party blowers. Bev offers children’s birthday packages that can be themed, including cake, favours, cups and plates. The shop also has a license to sell fireworks, which are kept under lock and key. These are popular four times a year: Diwali, bonfire night, Christmas and New Year.

The most enjoyable part of the job? For Bev it is still the satisfaction of transforming a room for someone’s wedding or a christening. This is the event-decorating part of the businessdressing a whole room with flowers, chair covers, table linen and crockery. They do on average three christenings a month plus weddings, which are more seasonal. In addition, the proximity to the cemetery isn’t that incongruent because Bev and Julie decorate for funerals too. The functions can make for a long day. For a Saturday event they can be up into the early hours preparing. Bev comments the most recent wedding was in Croydon on a Sunday, and they started at 9.30 by dressing the Church with flowers and delivering the bridal arrangements. Unusually they had to cover all the chairs because the pews had been removed for refurbishment. Next they decorated the reception venue consisting of 14 tables and a head table. The work day lasted until 11.30pm when all the guests had gone and they could pack down.

Throughout the interview there was a steady trickle of customers: a woman needing large foil “9” and “0” balloons for her mum’s 90th, which she was going to drive inflated to Cornwall; a young dad looking for a 1st birthday balloon; phone calls about functions; and someone collecting 20 helium balloons.

Bev comments how the quality of the balloon latex is important – it’s cheap online and the balloons don’t last, which can ruin an event. “You learn some tricks from years of experience”, Julie divulges. “In hot weather, don’t inflate to the full, as the balloons expand outside in the heat – they will all pop if you don’t know that!” There’s disappointing news for some of us… inhaling helium to entertain your friends with a squeaky cartoon voice is bad for you – if you take too big a breath, it deprives the brain of oxygen… now you know!


So any future plans for B’s Balloons? Bev responds without missing a beat – hopefully more corporate events and bigger premises to work in so they can create grander displays.


B’s Balloons

388 Norwood Road

SE27 9AA


Mon–Fri 10 to 5.30pm (closed Wednesday) and Sat 9 to 6pm