Embedded Bread

Matthew Raw and Abigail Holsborough

Chef’s Corner, Cann Hall ward

‘Embedded Bread’ is a proposal for a participatory artwork that recognises the history of the bakery at Chef’s Corner and reflects the wide range of cultures that make up Waltham Forest. It aimed to celebrate how past and present migration continues to enrich the borough and its residents’ lives. The entire wall was to be clad in blue and white tiles paying homage to both the original colour of the wall, and domestic decorative tiles throughout history. 

The design included the words: BREAD MADE HERE SINCE 1891 – a large-scale typographic nod to the signage used on bakeries to advertise their goods. The first named owner of the property (in the census of the time) is James Alston Collins – he had listings in the commercial directory as a baker and confectioner. The building has been a bakery since, and the artists wanted to remember all that have interacted with the site. Local residents were given the opportunity to contribute to the piece in a series of tile-making workshops. The intention was that these sessions and the larger artwork would provide an environment for past and present members of the community to metaphorically break bread and learn more about each other’s cultures and shared narratives. 


Artwork Inspiration

Abigail's and Matthew's design was inspired by large-scale, bold shop signage that was painted onto the sides of buildings. The artists wanted the slogan to stimulate conversation and celebrate the specificity of the building. The line drawing of breads on the existing Butler’s Bakery sign sparked the idea to challenge the community to ‘draw’ bread and other products found in bakeries from their culture. The aim was for a wide range of forms to feature on the handmade tiles celebrating bakery goods and the diversity of the community.

"Tiling has an affinity with modernity. Despite having its origins in the ancient world, and a rich and long history of use, ceramic tiling is fundamentally associated with the idea of progress. Tiles stand for rationalism, order and cleanliness. They are markers of civilization.” Alun Graves, Senior Curator of Sculpture and Ceramics at the Victoria & Albert Museum


Project Update 17th January 2019

"The council is disappointed to confirm that Matthew Raw and Abigail Holsborough have had to withdraw from the Cann Hall Making Places project, which is the result of extended delays to the project and long-standing work commitments. Waltham Forest Council would like to thank Matthew and his project partner Abigail for their original ‘Embedded Bread’ project concept, which won the Making Places competition for Cann Hall ward, and their subsequent hard work and dedication to develop it. The community workshops were a great success, allowing local residents and children to get hands-on experience creating tiles and directly contributing to the project. We wish Matthew and Abigail the very best for their future projects. The Council will now review the Making Places programme for Cann Hall ward and confirm next steps shortly."

Please note there are currently two London Borough of Culture Fellowship Funding grant programmes open for applications, see details https://wfculture19.co.uk/fellowshipfunding .




Abigail and Matthew met through ‘Clay Station’, a collaborative ceramics project with the collective Assemble, that was commissioned by Art on the Underground. The project centred around the refurbishing and remodelling of a formerly derelict commercial unit at the entrance to Seven Sisters Underground Station.

Abigail began in public art in 2014 working on the ‘Pound a Portrait’ project, funded by Waltham Forest Council. It involved creating a pop up photography studio on Hoe Street to capture the faces and stories of people from the borough. Since then Abigail has held various positions and run projects in schools, museums and galleries, including The Barbican Centre, Brixton Flour Mill, and London Transport Museum. Abigail was born and raised in Waltham Forest. Moving between Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone she has a strong personal connection to the area, and she remembers her Mum buying bread from Butler's Bakery.

Matthew is a Royal College of Art graduate and former artist in residence at the V&A Museum. He set up ‘Manifold’ – a collective studio in East London – with fellow graduates in 2010. He works on public commissions, artworks for galleries, and teaches extensively (Royal College of Art, Central St Martins and his own company; Raw Ceramic Workshops). He is currently working on a large-scale mural for The University of Warwick, creating new work for a solo show at Plymouth College of Art, and will be leading a Masterclass at the Barbican Centre in March.