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.

Alison Hullyer Exhibition 24th February - 21st March

Exhibition, PrintsCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment
Winter Berries©.jpg

This February, we are very excited to have local printmaker and illustrator Alison Hullyer as our featured artist. Alison’s work has been gracing our gallery walls since we first opened and it has grown ever more popular over the years. Our exhibition will focus on one of Alison’s favourite themes: birds. From the stylised goldfinch on her tea towels to the monochrome wren on her mini relief print and the hand-coloured blue tit on her latest drypoint, come in to see the entire range at cambridge contemporary crafts until 21st March!

Bullfinch drypoint.jpg

Alison graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Printmaking from Northumbria University in 1990 and now works full time as a professional illustrator and printmaker from her garden studio in Milton.  She designs primarily for the stationery industry but has also developed her own line of products such as her popular range of screen-printed tea towels. 

Besides her illustration work, Alison also makes limited edition hand-pulled prints. Inspiration for her prints comes mainly from observing nature. 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 of course birds flying from one branch to the other. For her prints, Alison mostly employs a drypoint technique, either using perspex or cardboard plates and then adding watercolour.

This free exhibition runs from 24th February – 21st March 2018. We are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

See here for more images and details of Alison's work.

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!

Sea Exhibition 2nd – 27th July 2016

Ceramics, Prints, ExhibitionCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

Katharina Klug

Deep Sea Vessel

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.


Penny Withers

Ocean Vase

Sarah Dennis

Whale Spirit


Alison Hullyer


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.



Jo Clark

Clown Fish

Ed Boxall

At the Sea

Lillian Bixler



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!