cambridge contemporary crafts

Claire Kendon's wreaths

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment
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Clare Kendon has made more of her lovely wreaths again this year!

Her love of using natural materials as decoration began with the miniature gardens and pressed wild flower collections that she made for the Village Flower Show in Somerset where she grew up. At Christmas her family decorated small logs with candles and pine cones to give to relations and drew seasonal pictures to hang with a ribbon and stuck a small calendar at the bottom.

Living now in a village-like suburb of Cambridge, her decorations are made from herbs and shrubs growing in the garden.  They smell so good and are part of a traditional Christmas.

Her Advent Wreath counts down the four Sundays to Christmas as each candle is lit, starting with Advent Sunday, which this year (2017) is December 3rd. Expect a unique mixture in each one to include some of the following: Rosemary, Ivy, Holly, Ceanothus, Pittosporum berries, Larch cones, Conifer, Bay, Christmas box and Rue. This is £44.

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This year's Table Decoration is a cracker with candles. Fresh garden materials are clustered low about the candles, creating a centre-piece to set off festive meals and intrigue guests. This is £22.

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All of these will benefit from misting and keeping the green florist's foam moist.

Festive Fayre

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

On Wednesday 6 December Cambridge businesses will be open late to celebrate the festive season!

From 5pm - 8pm, join us for a cocktail at cambridge contemporary crafts. We will also gift wrap your presents for free in our wonderful giftwrap designed by UK artists.

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This wonderfully atmospheric event is the perfect opportunity to explore the wealth of largely independent stores onTrinity Street, Green Street, Rose Crescent, All Saints Garden, Peas Hill, Bene’t Street, Kings Parade, Bridge Street and St Mary’s Passage … and bag some unique Christmas gifts.

Market Square stalls - many serving hot food - will be participating for the very first time and staying open late together with the All Saints Craft Market on Trinity Street.

To add to the ambience, there will be music and entertainment broadcast from a screen located in Market Square.

Two of Cambridge’s best-loved choirs will additionally be performing on the night. The historic choir of Great St Mary’s will perform outside Great St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Passage from 18:45 – 19:15.  The St Bene’t’s Singers will also be performing twice during the evening – from 17:15 -17:45 outside St Bene’t’s Church, Bene’t Street, and from 18:00 -18:30 on the corner of Peas Hill and Bene’t Street.

Ian Sandison, Chairman of Cambridge BID, said: “Festive Fayre is the perfect event to really get you in the Christmas mood as you sample the very best that Cambridge retailers have to offer within the picturesque Old Quarter.”

 Anne Bannell, owner of Jacks On Trinity and one of the main organisers behind the event, added: “This year’s Festive Fayre is set to be bigger and better than last year.  It’s great that Market Square will be staying open with us and that there are more shops offering special promotions and refreshments as well as festive fun and entertainment. It’ll be a lovely evening for all, and just what you need to get that Christmas shopping sorted!”

Christmas at cambridge contemporary crafts

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

Photo by Zuza Grubecka

Here at cambridge contemporary crafts we've transformed the gallery ready for Christmas and the annual Independent Christmas window competition. 

This year we've decided to go colourful and get cosy under the Christmas tree for a real festive celebration. Inspired by the amazing crafts surrounding us everyday we've chosen to get crafty ourselves and created some paper decorations to adorn our window. 

We really enjoyed the creative experience of making our window display this year, from planning the idea right through to two of days putting up the display and choosing the perfect crafts from the shop to bring the window to life. 

Photo by Zuza Grubecka

Our mini origami tree's are being joined by Amanda Banham's Raku houses and Kathryn Mitchell's festive themed ceramics to create a wintry village scene. Glass snowflakes by Caroline Raffan's are falling down our window onto the heads of our village occupants, the ever popular Clare Nicholl's snowmen. All accompanied by succulents grown by our very own Gonda Sanders.

Photo by Zuza Grubecka

Peering under the Christmas lights drawn on our windows, you can see what treasures are bursting from the presents under the paper Christmas tree. Glittering bowls from Sophie Smith and Luna Lighting, Cambridge themed ceramics from Daniel Wright and tea towels by Angela Harding

Inside the shop Claire Kendon has created wreaths and candle centers for the shop and our Christmas tree is overflowing with decorations. Each year our artists go all out for Christmas hand making decorations from a wide range of materials including glass, metal, and felt. Its a great way of getting a piece of handmade craft into your home. 

 

Photos by Zuza Grubecka

 

 

 

 

Opal Necklace by Ellie Air - raising money for Lullaby Trust

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

At the beginning of the year, Lauren of Ellie Air contacted us to say that she was going to make one special item of jewellery every month with the intention to raise money for charity. She has been collaborating with 12 shops and bloggers during 2017. October is here! It is now our turn and Lauren has made this wonderful Opal Necklace...

It is a one of a kind, doublet necklace set in 9ct yellow gold, to be sold exclusively at cambridge contemporary crafts. Lauren chose to use Opal as it is the birth stone for October, we think that the colours in this stone are stunning. Pop in to cambridge contemporary crafts to see it for yourself!

100% of the profits of this necklace will go to The Lullaby Trust, please read more about the charity on their website: www.lullabytrust.org.uk/
 

 

 

Autumn Colours Exhibition 23rd September – 11th October 2017

Exhibition, Glass, jewellery, Textile, Enamel, CeramicsCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

Our upcoming show will be focusing on Autumn Colours, with work by Caroline Parrott, Helen Chatterton, Janine Partington, Freddie Crossley, Eddy Crick and many more.

Janine Partington combines the traditional craft of enamelling with fresh, clean, contemporary design using intricate hand-cut stencils. Janine’s work is heavily inspired by the trees, flowers, seed heads and birds in the natural landscape surrounding her. Janine’s gorgeous rust-coloured pieces are perfect for this season and they shimmer beautifully in the autumn sun.

Caroline Parrott is a Dorset-based artist who works in anodised aluminium. Caroline hand prints the aluminium with her own unique designs. She then dyes and paints it to create a vibrant range of jewellery, home accents and sculpture. We will have a lot of fun arranging her popular animal sculptures into a forest-themed display for our autumn exhibition.

 
 

Also on display will be a beautiful collection of silk scarves by textile designer Helen Chatterton. Helen’s silk twill scarves have a lovely fluid feel. Colour is the main inspiration for Helen’s work. Her latest London map scarf features more intense hues, combining a deep-red street pattern with parks in emerald green and a turquoise Thames.

Freddie Crossley is a ceramicist whose work seeks a deep-rooted connection to the past and future of our landscape. Working in the South Downs, his motifs speak of grassy earth and windswept sea and stone, counterbalanced by refined form and sculptural presence.  The pieces on display are individually wheel-thrown, one off pieces which are suitable for domestic use.

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Meanwhile, hanging in our window are some beautiful British birds made by stained glass artist Eddy Crick.  He learned his skills at night school after an injury left him unable to pursue his career as a classical guitarist. He finds the most rewarding subjects are inspired by nature and pushes the techniques of his art close to its limits in the endeavour for accuracy. British wild birds are his forte and are all to scale and as accurate as he can achieve.

 

 

This free exhibition runs from 23rd September – 11th October 2017. We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

Layla Amber Exhibition 2nd – 20th September 2017

Exhibition, jewellery, WoodCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment
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This September, we are very excited to have Layla Amber as our featured artist. Layla is one of our most popular jewellers whose cute and quirky designs have become long-time favourites at cambridge contemporary crafts. Throughout the year, you can always find some of Layla’s lovely pieces on our jewellery shelves or tables. This month, for the first time ever, we will be creating a window display with her work. Layla is designing some brand new things to go in our front window, including floral wall pieces. We can’t wait to see what she has in store for us!

Layla Amber is a designer/maker based in a beautiful seaside town in Suffolk. She was brought up in a very creative family with her mother and grandfather both being artists.  Layla studied Graphic Design at the Norwich University College of the Arts, graduating in 2010 with a BA honours. It was during her time at art school that Layla discovered her passion for illustration. When she graduated, she set out to turn some of her illustrations into jewellery. Layla started working from a corner of her bedroom and now has her own studio, supplying jewellery to galleries and boutiques all over the world. We’re very proud to be one of them!

 
 

Layla's aim is to create fun and wearable pieces of jewellery from her finely detailed illustrations. She started out working mainly in shrink plastic, a material that allowed her illustrations to retain their intricacy and vibrancy in a miniature format. Her design style evolved over the years and she now focuses on more illustrative designs intricately laser cut in sustainable birch wood and then delicately hand painted. She likes to think of them as miniature wearable pieces of art. Layla’s work is greatly inspired by wildlife and the seasonal changes of the countryside that surrounds her.

 
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This free exhibition runs from 2nd – 20th September 2017. We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

Tote Bags for Cambridge Street Aid

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

Last winter as the temperatures dropped and we noticed more and more people sleeping rough on the streets of Cambridge, we started thinking about a way to support Cambridge Street Aid, a local charity which helps homeless or vulnerably housed people in our city to find and sustain accommodation and employment.

We came up with the idea of selling tote bags and donating the profit of every bag to Cambridge Street Aid. Our cotton tote bags are extremely useful, environmentally friendly, very sturdy and on top of that they look great! Cambridge-based illustrator Katie Harnett created 3 beautiful designs for us and we’re happy to see they have been popular.

Our bags cost £3 to produce and retail at £5, which means for every bag that is sold we can give £2 to the charity. We have been selling our tote bags since December 2016 and we’re really pleased to announce that we have recently sold out our first order of 300 bags, so we have donated £600 to Cambridge Street Aid! So here’s a heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s bought one!

Cambridge Street Aid has responded to say they are delighted and touched by your kindness. Your addition to the Street Aid fund means they have raised almost £10,000. The money has been paid out in grants that have helped to change lives, including:

  • For a bicycle to help a formerly homeless man travel to a new job;
  • To pay for a suit and shoes for someone starting a round of job interviews;
  • Towards sports gear for people wishing to put an unhealthy street-based life behind them;
  • To enable someone to obtain a construction certificate so they can work on building sites;
  • For household equipment to give someone a fresh start in a new tenancy;
  • To enable someone to purchase a passport to help them visit their estranged family

Once again a huge thank you for your support! We have started selling from our second order of tote bags now and we hope to be able to make another donation in about six months’ time. We also have Cambridge Street Aid’s poster and flyers on display in the gallery with details on how to donate, so we’re hoping this has inspired some of you to make a contribution directly to this worthwhile cause. Please visit https://www.cambscf.org.uk/to learn more.

Interview with Sarah Myatt

Glass, Interview, ExhibitionCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

We've had a chat with the lovely Sarah Myatt about her work. Sarah is the featured artist for our current exhibition. If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, make sure to come in soon. Sarah's beautiful glass work will be in our window display until 9th August.

 

How did you get started with your art career?

I always loved Art at school and had a fabulous teacher who just brought out the best in every student, I was completely hooked and I really wasn't interested in any other subjects. I continued my studies doing an art foundation course at a local college, fully intending to go on to do a degree course in Wood, Metals and Plastics (this was a long time ago and I have no idea what they call that type of course now!). On my way to the open day for the course at the University of Wolverhampton I dropped into the glass department. That was that – I was hooked straight away. Something just felt right... I never chose glass – it definitely chose me. I graduated way back in 2000 with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in 3D Glass Design. It feels (and is) a very long time ago. We learned many different glass techniques, from stained glass and glass blowing to kiln forming, which I loved and that’s what I use now in my practice.

What inspires you? 

The countryside that surrounds us inspires me – I live on the edge of the Peak District and it’s simply stunning. A natural theme has ran through my work from the very beginning, but it's been lovely to really push my work further for this new collection at cambrige contemporary crafts.


How do you go about making a new piece?

Sometimes I sketch out ideas, but usually I make a sample piece out of glass straight away, fire it and then make adjustments from there. Because I attend three regular artisan markets every month throughout the year, I need to keep my work fresh so I need to make new pieces quite regularly. That helps to keep it interesting. I’m lucky to have a following of customers who collect my work and look out for new pieces. The new collection has taken a long time to develop, I tend to work quite small, so it's been good for me to work a little larger and create the bigger panels. 

What are the qualities you enjoy about the medium you work in? 

I love everything about glass: the huge number of colours and patterns, the feel of glass and the way light can completely change a piece. The possibilities are endless. It can be quite an unpredictable material but it keeps you on your toes! Sometimes the pieces that don’t come out of the kiln exactly as you planned can spark an idea for something else.
 
Which other artists do you admire? 

There are so many glass artists that I love who work in all aspects of glass making: Amanda SimmonsDavid ReekieBert Frijns to name just a few. But the most inspirational work, which I could look at for hours, is by Czech artists Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová. Their work is simply beautiful –mostly large scale pieces that are created from the most sublime colours that change in hue as the light passes through them. My favourite piece is Arcus 1 which is in the V&A glass collection – I get goosebumps every time I see it. I was lucky enough to visit their studio on a group trip with university. It was very special and something I’ll never forget.

Can you describe a typical working day? 

Usually checking emails and doing a bit of admin first thing in the morning with lots of cups of tea to get the brain going! Then off to my studio which is based in my garden at home. It's a brick out-building which was refurbished last year with new windows and work surfaces, it's become a lovely light space to work in. 

I always have many to-do lists on the go for the week ahead but most days I am cutting out glass, cleaning and assembling the pieces in the kiln. I try to fire my kiln three times a week if possible, but sometimes it can be up to five times once I start making for Christmas. I load up my kiln and fire towards late afternoon, at this point I will finish work in the studio as the fumes from the kiln are not pleasant to breathe in. Then, it's back to the house for more admin, checking orders and packing parcels...oh and more tea of course!


How do you see your work evolving in the future? 

I have lots of ideas, but I am really pleased with the new collection for this exhibition. I can see this side of my work evolving more and it's very exciting!

Sarah Myatt Glass Exhibition 8th July - 9th August 2017

Exhibition, GlassCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

As the (hopefully) sizzling summer sun beams down on us, our gallery window will be filled with a stunning display of vibrant glass work handmade by Sarah Myatt. Sarah will be the featured artist from 8th July until 9th August.

 
 

If you have visited our craft gallery before, you will certainly have come across some of Sarah’s nature-themed hanging decorations. Her colourful birds, bees, ladybirds and sunshines are firm regulars in our window displays and our customers love them as gifts for friends and relatives or as a treat for themselves! Alongside these long-time favourites, Sarah is producing a range of larger work for our summer window. Still running with the natural theme, she is making larger panels that will catch the light on a window sill or look fabulous with candles behind them. This range will consist of various sizes of bowls and trinket dishes, free standing curves and hangings. Sarah has very much enjoyed the process of creating something new and designing larger pieces. Have a look at some of her work in progress below:

 
 

Sarah completed a degree in 3D Glass Design at Wolverhampton University, graduating with honours in 2000. She has continued to work with glass in her studio in Staffordshire ever since, creating a range of suncatchers, birds, bees, bunnies and much more. Each piece is cut, decorated and finished by hand. Sarah loves the endless possibilities of glass: the colour combinations and patterns, the flexibility, the way light can completely change a piece. Glass can be quite an unpredictable material, so there is always an element of surprise when opening the kiln door. Sometimes the pieces that don’t turn out exactly as planned can spark an idea for a new design. Sarah loves making unique pieces that you can treasure in your home and garden for many years to come.

 
 

This free exhibition runs from 8th July – 9th August 2017. We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.