cambridge contemporary crafts


Interview with Alison Hullyer

Interview, PrintsCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment
Rich Pickings Drypoint

Rich Pickings Drypoint


This month we are having a bird-themed exhibition with work by Cambridge-based artist Alison Hullyer. Alison’s prints and tea towels are longtime favourites at cambridge contemporary crafts and we're always excited to see her new designs. High time for a chat with one of our most popular artists!

Green Goldfinches Tea Towel

Green Goldfinches Tea Towel

Blue Silver Birches Tea Towel

Blue Silver Birches Tea Towel

Lime Woodland Tea Towel

Lime Woodland Tea Towel

  • How did you get started with your art career?
Autumn Branches Drypoint

Autumn Branches Drypoint

I did a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration, then set up my own business with the help of the Princes Trust.  They lent me money to buy an etching press.  I had my first printmaking exhibition in 1992 at the Lynne Strover Gallery.  It featured work inspired by a trip to India and Nepal earlier that year.

  • What inspires you?
Bullfinch Drypoint

Bullfinch Drypoint

I'm still inspired by travel, both near and far.  My most recent work features the wildlife I spot on my daily dog walks in Milton Country Park.  I see kingfishers quite often, which is always a thrill. One of them features in my latest drypoint print.

  • How do you go about making a new piece?

I seem to keep ideas in my head for ages or make little drawings of possible compositions in my sketchbook.  I take photographs of favourite trees or locations and use them as a starting point for a new print.  Then I work out the size of a new piece and draw it out full size.

Wallis Boats Collograph

Wallis Boats Collograph

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

Using the drypoint technique, I can achieve crisp black lines and white backgrounds, which I hope makes them feel quite contemporary.  Adding watercolour by hand also makes each print slightly different.

  • Which other artists do you admire?

There's so many!  I've always loved Matisse, especially his later more graphic work. I can't wait for Kettles Yard to reopen as the whole house in inspiring, especially the Alfred Wallis paintings and the gorgeous Brancusi head of Prometheus on the piano.  I also love the work of children's book illustrator John Burningham and printmakers John Brunsdon, Elizabeth Morris, Angela Harding and Angie Lewin.

  • Can you describe a typical working day?
Alison in her studio - 2018

Alison in her studio - 2018

I have to take the dog for a walk first or he doesn't settle.  I then answer any emails that have come in and sort out orders that have come through.  No two days are ever the same.  I could be designing for the stationery industry using a combination of hand-drawn and digital artwork.  Or I could be printing or painting all day, editioning work ready for exhibitions. I try not to spend too much time on social media but I think it is important to have a public profile as my work is so visual.  Instagram seems to work the best for me as I can show the process, which people seem to like.

  • How do you see your work evolving in the future?

I would like to produce some larger more abstract pieces.  I will also shortly be running some printmaking workshops from my new garden studio. 


Alison's exhibition at cambridge contemporary crafts run until 21st March. Make sure not to miss it! We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm 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. 

Colour Exhibition 11th June – 30th June

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

At cambridge contemporary crafts, we are diving into summer with a serious splash of colour. For our June exhibition we have selected a number of artists working across different media for whom colour is a central part of their work.

Karen Atherley creates decorative tableware that is both practical and beautiful to look at. Her pieces are decorated with eye-catching vivid colours and curvy figurative nudes inspired by Greek antiquity. Karen uses bright ceramic slips painted onto white earthenware with transparent glaze to give a lustrous finish.

Rachel Foxwell’s handbuilt earthenware vessels have simple cylindrical forms, but display a particularly intricate use of colour. Whilst the vessel’s exterior has subtle graduations of pastel hues, the interior is marked by a singular bold colour. Colour creates both harmony and contrast within the same piece.

Karen Atherley

Two Vases


Silver Aqua Heart

Rachel Foxwell

Rainbow Vessels

Also on display are some bright and cheerful prints by Mr. PS, ready to be popped into a frame and liven up your living space. The colourful prints feature bold graphics and line drawings. Screen printed and finished by hand, they all have a touch of personal charm.

For glass artist Anna French, colour is not only essential, it is primary. Anna always decides on a colour scheme first and then on the shape. She rhythmically builds up her design in layers of one colour at a time.

Ima Pico creates beautiful luxurious silk scarves with bright colours and original designs inspired by her travels around the world. The designs for the scarves have been created from photographs of graffiti and publicity found in the streets of Indian and European cities.

Jeweller Karen McMillan makes bold colourful resin and acrylic earrings, necklaces, bangles and cufflinks. Karen enjoys using resin as a material as colour and pattern are very important aspects in her work. Her designs are inspired by linear shapes found in nature and she has a love of Japanese patterns.

Karen McMillan

Green Fern Studs

Anna French

Two Glass Dishes

Ima Pico

Skinny Graffiti Scarf


This free exhibition runs from 11th June – 30th June 2016. We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Come and have a look!