North London Cafe | Mario's Cafe

Current Exhibition


by Dani Atkinson, Richard Kenyon, Christine Stammers and Linda Tilling.

The exhibiting artists met on a 'contemporary quilting course' in 2019. A traditional quilt is known as an item of warm bedding consisting of a soft filling sewn between two layers of material. The course was really about applying the surface before stitching. Not a lot of sewing technique was learnt but much more interesting stuff - dyeing, painting and printing fabric, using soya wax resists, image transfer, recycling and textile design not really about quilting.

The textiles here may only consist of two stitched layers and are not suitable for bedding but are joined together by stiches. A few pieces have been made from plastic bags and as everyone knows - anyone who sews keeps scraps in case they can be used again. Many of the exhibited works have come from the scrap bag and old treasured collections of threads, beads and paints have been used to make these pieces.

Some of the designs have been inspired by the shapes left from the cuttings of leftover fabrics, magazine images and children's chalk drawings. Then there was a challenge to make pictures from recycled materials. Yet others have come from a poem or a few words and even the Festival of Britain. All have been stitched by machine or needle to give interesting surface effects and pleasing decoration but are definitely not traditional quilts.

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Dani Atkinson's work is inspired by colour, texture and line found in nature.

Richard Kenyon is an economic migrant from Stockport SK7 to Bermondsey SE1. He never expected to find his "tribe" in the World of contemporary quilting but is never happier than when, cutting, dying, printing and stitching.

Christine Stammers's work was inspired by the Festival of Britain logo and a textile design by Lucian Day.

Linda Tilling's work explores the use of words, colour and repeat pattern.

Past Exhibitions

Artists who have previously exhibited at Marios Cafe....

Mike McGoran
Francisco A. Gutierrez
Sean Denny
Emil Torday
Lesley Newman-Stevas
Ray & Paula Chadwick
Eugene Schlumberger
Nargiz Price
Jairo Zaldua & Nicola Green
Roland Denning
Ruby Sweet
James Alexander Beggs & David Maurice Black
Gerry Badger
Kenrick Franklin
Nelle Laurent
Paula Chadwick
Aya Tokita
Juan Mateus, Tom Young amp; Gustav Hagild
Aude Van Ryn
Claire Levin
Jeorge Asare-Djan
Nemo Roberts
Mark Coombs
Jo Hodges
Aya Tokita
Joe Carcrey
Richard Jolly
Lisa Hurcum and Hugh Davies
Harry Deansway
Amanda Critchlow
Tom Hogan
Jason Gormley
Dorelle Morgan
Lisa Scott
Jeremy Cooper
Kenneth Toby John Wotherspoon
William Leach
Sonia Lenzi / Gerry Badger
Eddie King
Gareth Halliday
Bettina Schroeder


The year was 1958 when my grandfather Mario opened up ‘Tony’s Restaurant’ at 6 Kelly Street. He hailed from the Puglia region of Italy and had decided to name the place after his son and my dad, Tony.

Things bobbed along nicely for several years, attracting lots of students from the local Polytechnic just around the corner. Polytechnic’s gone now, its luxury flats, as you’d expect.

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Then in true Italian fashion, Tony had a bust up with Mario and walked out, leaving Mario to run the place alone. He struggled to continue without him and eventually leased the place to a Chinese family. So in 1974 ‘Tony’s Restaurant’ became ‘The Golden Sun’.

10 years passed before the lease was up for renewal and for reasons best known to him, my grandfather refused to lease it to the Chinese family. So it sat empty for 4 years during which time he passed away. It was then, Tony (my dad) found himself redundant from the Greek restaurant he’d been working at. He was aged 55. So striking a deal with his siblings, the place opened up as a cafe again.

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So much to our disapproval ‘Mario’s Cafe’ was born on 6th June 1989 and this time they named it after me! At the time I was an uneducated unemployed pot smoking wannabe rock star, so I was roped in to help out. I was only supposed to be there for a year until I realised how much music was associated with the area. The Falcon Pub quickly becoming my favourite music venue.

After a year, my dad had a heart attack, had to go off to have triple bypass surgery and left me holding the baby so to speak. I’m still here and the rest is history....

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A small selection of photos of the cafe as it is today.

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'Mario's Cafe' (2010)

by Roland Denning


6 Kelly Street
Kentish Town, London


Wednesdays - Saturdays
8am - 4pm