Sarah Cockings
'Package deals'

Sarah moved to Dalston in 2009 having grown up in Gloucestershire. She likes that, “I can buy a wedding cake or a blue toupée at the drop of a hat.” She makes installations big and small, from giant floating sculptures to surreal one-off experiences. “I aim to create cultural inflections and magnify realities using props, people and places as communication tools. I like to make a work with an intention but then allow it to generate its own splinter narratives.” Showing paradise beaches, snowy scenes and getaway dreams, the etched acetates within each glasses lens suggest instant escapism, with visions of exotic climes being readily on hand. They embody, as she puts it, “Layers of packaged fantasy glowing through tired lenses”.

Eyes Only Opticians,
87 Kingsland High Street

Marvin Quallo and Wayne Ramsauer went in to partnership here 8 years ago after working together in another opticians on Kingsland Road. Marvin, who was born in Jamaica, has worked in Dalston for 23 years, and Wayne has lived and worked here for 30 years. They pride themselves on giving a very personal service, with many of their customers being families. Marvin says Dalston is far quieter now than 15 years ago. “You could never get a plot on Ridley Road market then but now you see empty stalls.”