Linda Green might struggle to call herself an artist, but she certainly is one. Her work is currently hanging in the three-woman show “Explorations” (along with Saskia Huning and Ali Reader) in the Walthamstow Village Window Gallery on Orford Road. A resident of the Village, Linda has lived in Walthamstow for so long she says she sometimes feels like a walking history book.
“I first came to Walthamstow on the 20th January 1947. I was born in Thorpe Coombe on Forest Road, grew up in Higham’s Park and have lived in the Village since 1982. At one time I felt it wasn’t very adventurous having lived here all my life, but actually at this stage, it feels great to have that continuity.
Home life in the ’50s was very cosy and safe. My dad had been away for five years in the army and I think when he came back – his war experiences weren’t spoken about – there was a desire to make a very safe home. There was a feeling of anxiety about the world outside.
When I passed the 11-plus and came to Walthamstow High School, some of the girls I met came from quite different backgrounds. At the time I was shy, so often felt like I was on the edge of things. A lot of the girls had older sisters and were more worldly wise. I have this memory of being about 13 years old, sitting outside school and these girls were talking about French letters. I thought they were talking about pen friends. I had no idea!
I did an A level in art but, back then, there was no encouragement to apply to art school unless you were really talented. Anyway, I don’t think my parents would have allowed me to go. Besides which, I had always wanted to be a teacher. So after working at the BBC Radio Hulton Picture Library in Marylebone, and then as an unqualified teacher for a term, I left home and went to a ‘college of education’. There I ended up doing print-making as my main area of study and suddenly found an avenue for my creativity.
Over the years I have attended pottery, life drawing and painting classes, and eventually an art foundation course. However, not having a degree in fine art has left me feeling somewhat an imposter, a bit of a fraud! I have exhibited my work during the E17 Art Trail since 2008, and it’s has given me the confidence to develop and show my work in other settings. It was in some way instrumental in my becoming a ‘ceramic artist in residence’ at Waltham Forest College from 2013 to 2016, and since 2014 I’ve been working in a shared studio in Lloyd Park. Still, I have to make a conscious decision to call myself an artist. I had to fill in a form recently and hesitated between putting ‘retired’ or ‘artist’. After a moment of uncertainty, I wrote artist…”
This article first appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of “The Village” magazine.