Last night saw the start of the E-Luminate Festival bringing projections, music, lights and art installations to the city of Cambridge. Some of the most historic buildings in the city have been given a completely different look at night - based on this year's theme of Play! Not wanting to miss out, we have been lighting up our window display with some new lamps and lanterns made by Jo Green of Seren Papercuts. Jo is a papercut artist and designer-maker based in rural Norfolk, designing and making her pieces from her shepherds hut studio there. Much of her work takes inspiration from the surrounding countryside. More details about the festival can be found here. And to see more of Jo's work, see her page on here!
Although the days may be getting longer, it has been very chilly here in Cambridge lately. Luckily we have a wonderful selection of warm and stylish knitwear in the gallery keeping us cosy. Here is a selection of the artists who make beautiful textiles for us:
Annie's knitted angora and lambs wool scarves, hats and gloves come in a range of lovely colours, and are just the thing for keeping warm. Annie is committed to the skill, creativity and tradition of British manufacturing, small businesses and hand knitting. Annie works from her studio in south west London.
Tangent Accessories' scarves are designed and made by textile designer Zoe Miller. They are made from 100% Lambswool and are as stylish as they are soft. Whatever your tastes, there is a colour-way and stripe for you!
Marrying geometric patterns with soft neutral colours, Rose B Brown's scarves, gloves and hats are made using entirely British materials, with lambswool dyed and spun in Scotland, and gloves produced in the North of England. The twist headbands and fingerless mittens are gallery favourites.
Sarah uses the Double Jacquard machine knitting technique to create the wonderful patterns in her scarves. Simple yet sophisticated, the Ice Fir Sparkle scarf is especially fitting for this time of year.
Pattern is key to Hattie Kerrs' designs, which include cosy bobble hats and hot water bottle covers. Each item is made in Hattie's home studio, using merino wool, and she focuses on small scale production to retain the originality and integrity of her designs.
Helen's scarves feature a variety of textures, materials and patterns, as Helen likes to juxtapose elements that might not usually be put together. Her tweed scarves (featuring either Harris or Shetland tweeds) lined with either Liberty fabric, Silk Dupion or Silk Velvet are especially warming and elegant.
We have a wide range of all of these lovely accessories in the gallery, so feel free to pop in and browse our collection.
We are really thrilled to have won the best Christmas window competition, especially as we thought that all the other nominees - lovely, independent shops and cafes; Podarok, Bread and Meat, Ark, Jacks on Trinity, millers Music, The Flower House and Tailor's Cat had beautiful windows too. Thank you to everybody who voted for us. We will be donating the money to Cambridge Street Aid, a charity set up to help people on the street to turn a corner. www.cambscf.org.uk
Vikki Lafford is a textile artist based in Oxfordshire. Drawing inspiration from nature, she creates colourful and meticulously detailed butterflies and dragonflies that have been brightening up our gallery for several years. The butterflies are made from layers of fabric including cotton, faux suede and polyester organza. They are all embroidered and hand painted.
Vikki has always had a love of butterflies and an appreciation of the natural world. For the last few years she has been making a collection of embroidered British butterflies. After a customer from the USA commissioned her to make some Monarch butterflies, Vikki was surprised to learn how the once common and abundant Monarch butterfly is in severe decline in the USA due to various factors such as climate change and the loss of habitat. The facts and figures were quite startling and Vikki realised there must be many more different butterflies around the world that are fighting for survival. Her collection of endangered and threatened butterflies is an attempt to represent the beauty and fragility of vulnerable butterfly species from around the world.
Below we are zooming in on some of the endangered butterflies from Vikki's new collection. Come to the gallery soon to see them!
The Wallace’s Golden Birdwing is a beautiful butterfly with a large wingspan reaching up to 19cm wide. It is native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, where extensive commercial deforestation has caused the butterfly to become endangered.
The Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is the world’s largest butterfly. With beautiful iridescent wings spanning up to 28cm, the butterfly is highly prized by collectors. Trade in the endangered Queen Alexandra’s birdwing is now illegal but its future in Papua New Guinea continues to be threatened by the devastating loss of habitat following a volcanic eruption of Mount Lamington in 1951 and through deforestation for oil palm plantations.
The Ceylon Rose is a very rare butterfly from the swallowtail family, found mainly in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka. It is classified as critically endangered and the main threats facing the future of this exotic butterfly are thought to be deforestation due to timber extraction and agriculture.
The Morpho Helena is one of many different Blue Morphos native to the rainforests of Latin America. Blue Morphos are known for their stunning iridescent blue wings and so highly sought after by collectors. There is concern for the future of all Blue Morphos in the region due to the gradual destruction of their habitats to clear land for crop plantations and livestock pastures.
The Kaiser-i-Hind is often known as the Emperor of India. It is native to the high altitude forests of the Eastern Himalayas and as a rare butterfly, is protected by Indian and Nepalese law. However, it is still illegally hunted for supply to butterfly collectors and is also threatened by loss of habitat through the slash-and-burn techniques used in agriculture.
The Monarch butterfly is a native to North America. The Monarch is well known for its incredible annual mass migration to central Mexico, covering a distance up to 3,000 miles.
cambridge contemporary crafts’s featured artists during September is Caroline Parrott. Caroline is an established artist in the gallery, who has created a lovely new range of colourful jewellery especially for the exhibition.
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 it using industrial dyes and powder paints to vibrant effect to create a range of jewellery, home and garden accents and sculpture. She is the featured artist for our next exhibition, which runs from 27th August until 21st September.
On Thursday 8th and Saturday 10th September Caroline will be coming to our gallery for a jewellery making workshops using colourful aluminium. She will demonstrate the process of printing and dyeing aluminium, as well as how to cut shapes, file and finish the metal and form it in to shapes. Participants will be given a choice to create a small range of jewellery, including pendants, earrings and bangles. The workshop will be suitable for both beginners and those with some knowledge of jewellery making and everyone will have completed 3 to 4 pieces by the end of the evening.
This free exhibition runs from 27th August – 21st September 2016. We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.
cambridge contemporary crafts
5 bene't st, cambridge, cb2 3qn
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Katrin Moye is a ceramic artist based in Nottingham who specialises in making highly decorative work using the traditional technique of slip painting on earthenware. She is the featured artist for our August exhibition, which runs from 30th July until 24th August.
Katrin began her career in making domestic ware in 2005. Her work is made of a mix of white earthenware and stoneware and it is mostly wheel thrown. Katrin decorates her work with coloured slips and underglazes using traditional slipware techniques such as painting, trailing, sponge printing and hand cut paper resist. In recent years, Katrin’s work has become much more detailed and complex in terms of the surface pattern.
For inspiration, Katrin draws on memories of her childhood in the 1970s, which she spent immersed in books such as Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales, Astrid Lindgren's stories and Joanna Spyri’s classic ‘Heidi’. Katrin’s ceramics bring to life the inner world she occupied as a child, which consisted of an idealised Scandinavian rural landscape of forests, meadows, starry skies and woodland creatures. Her work also references mid-20th century design, folk art and the interior of her 1970s family home.
Katrin is fascinated by the relationships people develop with domestic items. Ordinary things can take on significance for their owner in terms of the memories and associations connected with them, thus the same object can be ‘read’ as many different objects, depending on who is looking at it. Katrin loves the way that people who buy her work embark on a relationship that is uniquely their own with something that she has created, making a full circle with the memories she references in the decoration.
This free exhibition runs from 30th July – 24th August 2016. We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Make sure to pop in!
We're delighted to be featured on Feioi's website in the line up of her favourite interior shops in Cambridge. Owner of Feioi, Jennifer Chong is an interior design project manager and blogger living in Cambridge. Through Feioi, she offers interior design advice as well as a project management service for clients looking for hassle-free home renovation. Her website is full of stunning products.
A brand new exhibition will be on view at cambridge contemporary crafts from 2nd until 27th July 2016, exploring the grand theme of the sea. Immerse yourself into our watery world and find out how this theme has inspired contemporary UK artists and craftspeople working in a wide range of media including ceramics, print-making, textiles and jewellery. We are zooming in on a few highlights below.
Cambridge-based ceramicist Katharina Klug has created a beautiful collection of ‘Deep Sea’ vessels for us, sparked by the idea of sunken ships and their lost treasures left at the bottom of the ocean. The vessels are round and smooth on the outside, as if shaped by water over long periods of time. Their colours are evocative of ancient cargo found on the sea bed, encrusted with sea-life, sand, debris and barnacle.
Fellow ceramicist Penny Withers, who is new to the gallery, has brought to us a lovely selection of her Ocean and Coast vases. In shades of teal and turquoise, they reflect the colour of seascapes. Some of them have a glossy light-reflecting finish, suggestive of the atmospheric shimmer of seawater. Penny’s vessels do not only capture the colours of water, but also its shapes, with surfaces that ripple and undulate like waves.
Fuelled by her love of nature, Sarah Dennis creates wonderfully intricate paper-cuts. She has produced some absolutely breathtaking work depicting the deep blue sea and all the creatures that live in it, from the largest marine mammals to the tiniest deep sea creatures. Each piece is individually hand-cut to reveal exquisite, delicate detail within the illustration.
We are thrilled to also have a lovely range of sea-side inspired prints by local print artist Allison Hullyer in our exhibition. We love her latest drypoint, which depicts fish facing in opposite directions coloured in different shades of blue.
Local illustrator Jo Clark designs hand drawn illustrations inspired by the fauna and flora of the British countryside. For our sea-themed exhibition, she has explored some more aquatic regions, resulting in striking mixed media illustrations of clown fish, sea turtles and great white sharks.
Also on display will be new work by printmaker Ed Boxall. Ed has recently made a series of sea-themed linocuts inspired by sketches he has made at the rock pools in Hastings, where he is based.
Textile artist Lillian Bixler makes soft sculpture animals out of felt. She is inspired by a desire to capture a realistic representation of each animal she crafts. Each piece is designed, hand cut and stitched by Lillian herself. For this exhibition, Lillian has created some original one of a kind sea animals.
This free exhibition runs from 2nd – 27th July 2016. We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Come and have a look!
We are always thinking of new ways to make our customers' experience as happy as possible and we love hearing from people letting us know that they have enjoyed their visit!
We were recently thinking how handy it is when we go shopping to find a little spot to sit and have a break, and so we decided to create a little space in the gallery for people to do just that! You will find our snug downstairs at Cambridge Contemporary Crafts and it has been lovely to see lots of you taking the chance to relax.
In our snug, we are very pleased to have a Cubed Trio cabinet made by Steve and James Linford. The cabinets are handmade to order in their Cambridge workshop from solid wood (usually beech), they select strips of wood, known as staves, then bond the strips together to form an incredibly strong construction material.
The concept for Cubed began when Steve was looking for a cabinet to store vinyl records, and couldn't find anything that was strong enough to last, and also good-looking enough to be a piece of furniture. He'd used this wood before to build some bookshelves for a Cambridge Academic and was impressed with its strength and stability, which is sometimes hard to find in timber. Steve says "The 'Cubed' design adds to its inherent strength, similar to the way a box girder works. As I worked on the drawings I realised that there was great scope to add doors, drawers etc, and that they could even be hand-finished with decorative designs."
Here are some designs we are coveting!