In the Walthamstow Tapestry Grayson Perry explores the emotional role and meaning of brand names in our lives, and by extension our quasi religious relationship with consumerism. The tapestry depicts a human life, punctuated with an endless series of commercial brands that the individual encounters along the way. Stripped of their logos and thus their identity, the brand names walk alongside the subjects of the portraits: ordinary people going about their daily business, caring for their children, walking the dog, skateboarding and – of course – shopping. Everyone of Grayson Perry’s vases or tapestries is a marvel of craftsmanship and devotion. There is a dissonance in the unusual scenes that adorn his otherwise traditional works. With image and text, Perry tells stories of social injustice, hypocrisy and his alter ego, Claire.
This long, traditionally woven tapestry is reminiscent of the world-renowned, seventy metre long Bayeux Tapestry (c. 1070), depicting the heroic events of the Battle of Hastings (1066). The name Walthamstow refers to a suburb of London where Perry kept a studio for many years