cambridge contemporary crafts

New Collection of Butterflies by Vikki Lafford

TextileCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

Vikki creating some of her lovely Red Admiral butterflies

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.



Vikki's work on display in the gallery


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.

Wallace's Golden Birdwing

Queen Alexandra's Birdwing

Ceylon Rose

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.

Blue Morpho



Caroline Parrott Exhibition 27th August – 21st September

Exhibition, WorkshopsCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

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.

Click here for more details and to book a place.

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

01223 361200

follow us at @CCAandCCC

Katrin Moye Exhibition 30th July – 24th August

Ceramics, ExhibitionCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

Katrin Moye

Daisy Candle Holders and Vase

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.


Katrin Moye

Wren In Garden Platter

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!


Katrin Moye

Formal Hedge Jug and Daisy Jug

Katrin Moye

Multicoloured Daisy Platter

Katrin Moye


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!

Cubed Design

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

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.

James working on a 'Quatro' with six drawers and two doors finished in a charcoal stain mixed from Farrow and Ball colors. 

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! 

Bedside Mono

Cubed Trio in American Walnut

Trio on Castors


Katharina Klug Workshop

Ceramics, WorkshopsCambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

Tea Set

Katharina Klug is a Cambridge-based ceramicist who creates elegant contemporary porcelain pieces. Her work is about simplicity of design and form. This is beautifully complemented with distinctive pops of colour, as in this stunning tea set she recently made. Katharina mixes all the glazes herself using her own recipes which she has developed and refined over many years. She is inspired by the elemental colour and shape of ancient Korean pottery.


At the start of the workshop

Last week we were fortunate enough to attend a workshop with Katharina and get some hands-on experience ourselves. We are extremely grateful that she invited us to her lovely studio; it was a very interesting, informative experience and we had a lot of fun too! Here is an image of some of our staff members at the start of the workshop, before we got our hands dirty.


Wheel throwing

The workshop focused on two different clay building techniques: slab building and wheel throwing. Most of us were new to wheel throwing, so it was a bit daunting at first, but luckily we had an experienced and very patient master-ceramicist guiding us through the basics. Wheel throwing was a lot more difficult than we had expected and we will need another few workshops before we are able to throw an acceptable pot, but we very much enjoyed it! Starting out with a lump of clay and being able to shape it any way you want is very liberating. Even if our pots didn't always turn out the way we had hoped, we loved the process of creating them. As the morning passed our respect and admiration for the ceramicists whose work we have in stock at our galleries grew even more than before, so much skill, time and effort goes into the making of even the simplest of bowls.


Slab building

While we focused on round smooth shapes with the pottery wheel, we used the slab building technique to try our hand at straight shapes with textured surfaces. We started by rolling out the clay into an even layer and we had a wide range of tools and objects at our disposal to create relief on our slabs; from stamps and rollers to everyday objects like lace. The possibilities were endless and Katharina inspired us constantly with new ideas. We then constructed vessels by joining the different slabs together with a slip made of clay, water and vinegar.


Creating pottery is a very physical activity, so we had a well deserved mid-morning break in Katharina's lovely garden, with excellent coffee and tea, fresh fruits and delicious cakes. During this time, Katharina talked to us about different kinds of materials and their properties, including earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. She enthusiastically answered all of our questions and convinced us that anyone can become a great potter, given enough practice and dedication.


At the end of the workshop


Throughout the workshop, it became apparent how driven and committed Katharina is herself. She works very hard to get the results she wants, spends a lot of time reading up on the latest developments in ceramics and forever continues to improve her technique. Katharina is so passionate and knowledgeable about her craft that it didn't come as a surprise to us that she was recently selected as a member of the prestigious Crafts Potters Association, official recognition that she is really at the top of her field. We want to thank Katharina for spending so much time with us and we look forward to passing on some of the knowledge and enthusiasm to our customers!

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!






cambridge contemporary crafts re-opened and has lots of new work on display

Cambridge Contemporary CraftsComment

After having been closed for renovations, our lovely crafts gallery on Bene't Street re-opened last month. Our re-opening was a great success and we were very happy to welcome back our customers and rediscover the wealth of handmade crafts made by talented and passionate artists from all over the U.K. Pop in to see our newly redecorated space and enjoy our wonderful selection of handmade work!

Downstairs we have now made room for a cosy snug where you can take some time to relax, have a sip of water, read a book or magazine and play with your children. We want to encourage our customers to use this space as a kind of mini-living room and make themselves at home while they browse our collection of art and crafts.

We currently have a wide range of ceramics on display at the gallery. Here are some highlights: in our main window, we have Alice Maplesden's quirky bowls and plates on display. Alice creates white stoneware with inlaid black slip decoration. Her characterful designs always put a smile on our face. Alice's work is accompanied by Namiko Murakoshi's "hairy babes" plant pots, which similarly never fail to cheer us up. Namiko's hand-thrown pots are made of a mixture of terracotta and coarse stoneware clay and they all have different facial expressions. Now it's up to you to find the perfect plant to add more personality to those lovely faces! In our other window, we have Daniel Wright's popular Cambridge collection on display. Daniel's hand thrown earthenware pieces are decorated with white and coloured slips and screen printed drawings in black enamel of the city’s iconic buildings and typical sights such as bicycles and punts on the river. His pieces make a classy gift for anyone who likes Cambridge.

Alice Maplesden

Namiko Murakoshi

Daniel Wright

Alongside our trusty regulars, we also have several artists who are new to the gallery. We have a beautiful collection of striking vases in stock created by Penny Withers and we also have some lovely colourful screenprints on display by Anna Wray and Jenny Seddon. Come in to see more of their work and many others'!

Jenny Seddon

Penny Withers

Anna Wray