cambridge contemporary crafts

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.

Father's Day - Sunday 18th June 2017

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

Father's Day is just around the corner, and there are so many great gifts in the gallery. Whether your Dad prefers something to look at or something to look good in, we've got you covered. Pop into the gallery to see our full range of gifts and cards, or have a look at our suggestions from our online shop below. 

Cufflinks
46.00
Foxy ed13
90.00

Kaper Exhibition - 13th May-7th June 2017

Exhibition, PaperCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

 

This May, we are looking forward to having some very special creatures inhabiting our window space. Toucans, cockatoos, macaws and all kinds of tropical species will be migrating down from Manchester to make cambridge contemporary crafts their new habitat. They are beautiful unique paper sculptures handmade from start to finish by Kate Kelly (Kaper). Taking inspiration from nature and building on her fascination with geometry, Kate has been making her one of a kind paper sculptures since she graduated from her Design Crafts degree in 2006. Make sure to come by in May and admire the gorgeous summery window display she has created for us!

Kate’s sculptures are designed, hand printed and hand built in her studio in Manchester. They start off as doodles in her sketchbook, inspired by the great British countryside and rainforest wildlife. She is particularly fond of birds because they are so characterful.

Based on her drawings, Kate designs a three dimensional template with her ruler, protractor and angle measurer. She has always liked geometry, so she enjoys the technical process of working out the mathematics.

The templates are hand printed using a blank silkscreen to doodle patterns onto the surface. This ensures each has its own unique textures, patterns and colour palette. She then cuts out and glues all of the parts together to build suspended, free standing or wall mounted paper sculptures. The sculptures are varnished, which gives them a lovely satin sheen, seals their edges and protects them against harsh sunlight so the colours do not fade.

Kate’s sculptures are embellished in different ways, sometimes adorned with floral decorations, twigs, acorns, spectacles or bow ties, so no two pieces are ever the same. She groups them together in various compositions and combinations. Every design has a unique name, which she picks out from beloved books, bands, films or heroes.

As a nature lover, Kate is dedicated to making her business as environmentally friendly as possible. She uses recycled paper and animal friendly products and materials. All paper off cuts are used in embellishments, collaged cards or one-off prints, so very little is left to the recycling bin.

This free exhibition runs from 13th May – 7th June 2017. We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

 

Spring Exhibition 15th April-10th May 2017

Exhibition, Ceramics, Prints, Textile, PapercutsCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

Spring is in full swing and as the seasons change, so do our window displays! Leaving the winter months behind and anticipating summer, we're celebrating the new season by giving the gallery a springtime look with lots of plants, flowers and bright colours.

We start off our spring exhibition by nodding goodbye to winter. Tone Von Krogh’s collection of contemporary tableware is strongly influenced by her impressions of the wintery landscapes during her time spent in Norway. Covered by snow, sharp edges become soft and everyday shapes become unrecognizable. The colours range between different shades of blue, white and turquoise, reflecting the many tones of snow and ice and winter skies.

 

If Tone von Krogh’s work makes us look back to winter, Brittany Delany’s Seasalt ceramics make us look forward to the summer months, conjuring up thoughts of summertime beaches and the crispy feeling of salt on your skin. Brittany’s collection consists of minimal shapes, frosted with tactile glazes in shades of teal, mint and aqua. The smooth outer surfaces of the vessels, reflective of soft skin, contrast with the tactile sea salt colours inside.

 

Ceri White specialises in one-off plant pots hand-thrown from high quality white earthenware and decorated with black and white slips and striking glazes. The playful designs and the fresh turquoise and warm yellow colours instantly brighten up the space. Ceri is inspired by a wide range of influences, from urban architecture to nature, from the aesthetics of her 1970’s suburban upbringing to her current countryside existence. Ceri’s adorable pots are perfect for cacti and succulents and we have taken the liberty of filling them with some of our own plants.

 

Helen Musselwhite’s skill at the laborious art of paper engineering is second to none. With painstaking integrity and a great eye for colour and design, Helen’s intricate, layered creations are as mind boggling as they are aesthetically pleasing. Her work truly shines when she works with natural, flora and fauna-based projects. For our spring exhibition, we’ve selected pieces with lots of exotic plants and bright pops of colour.

 

We also have a lovely range of limited edition drypoints by local print artist Alison Hullyer on display, featuring seed heads, flowers, twigs and trees. Walking her dog every day, Alison enjoys being outside in all weathers, observing the changing seasons. She loves the patterns and textures in nature, from seed heads and brambles to silver birch trunks and skeletal winter trees and these often form the starting point for a new print design.

 

Janine Partington’s work combines the traditional craft of enamelling with fresh, clean, contemporary design to create framed panels and jewellery. She makes intricate hand-cut stencils which are inspired by trees, flowers, seed heads, birds and the natural landscape. A perfect match for our spring exhibition!

 

We are happy to announce a new addition to the gallery: Alex Bagenal. Alex makes beautiful hand turned wooden bowls. His style is contemporary and modern, utilising old and new methods. His work incorporates different materials such as Ash and copper leaf or Douglas Fir and metal.

 

 

To finish things off, we’ve draped some gorgeous silk scarves by Ima Pico and Helen Chatterton around the gallery. They add a pop of colour and their luxurious fabrics feel light and airy like a soft spring breeze!

E-Luminate Festival

Papercuts, ExhibitionCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

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!

Jo Green's Blackbird and Berries 10'' Drum Lamp £95

Jo Green's Heart Twigs Papercut lamp £75

Buttercups Papercut lamp £95

Lighting up our window!

The changing face of the Senate House during E-Luminate

The changing face of the Senate House during E-Luminate

Winter Warmers

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

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 Neill

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

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! 

Rose B Brown

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 Dowsett

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.

Hattie Kerrs

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 Chatterton

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 won the Christmas Window competition!

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

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

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