“Cambridge Open Studios exists for the purposes of promoting
the making of original works of art and craft and to provide an opportunity for the
public to become involved in the arts by meeting artists in their studios,
seeing their work and how it is produced.” COS
July was an incredibly busy month which seemed to fly by – we are now at the end of the second week of August and I have finally found some time to sit and look back on the incredible Cambridge Open Studios 2015. Across the four weekends of July over 270 artists, designers and makers opened the doors to their homes and studios, inviting the public to view their works. Also, if you picked up a copy of the guide then you will have seen which galleries participated this year and other events taking place across Cambridgeshire such as The Isle of Ely Arts Festival. I want to share with you some photographs and a little about the artists I saw throughout COS.
It kicked off with an invite to exhibiting artist Jo Tunmer‘s preview event on Thursday 2nd July. Jo is not only a professional painter and printmaker but is also one of the founders of Cambridge Original Printmakers. As well as showcasing her oil paintings and solar plate etchings the event also launched an upcoming collaboration with Edel Hopkin who runs bookbinding workshops. Edel will be running a series of beginner bookbinding classes which will see some of Jo’s prints incorporated into the finished products. Find out more here.
I was keen to visit Maureen Mace after seeing some of her work at the recent Etsy Cambridge Pop-up Shop in Ely. Maureen is a professional painter and printmaker, her work is very much inspired by Cambridge and is highly detailed. In her own words the ‘images reflect the detail and pattern of medieval scenes and tapestries’ infused with ‘whimsical humour and exuberant colours’. It was her painting the ‘Tree of Cambridge’ which really caught my eye – incorporating iconic images of the City into a stunning oil painting layered with copper leaf. Maureen also sells her works and creations on Etsy – take a look at her shop here – and is also the tutor behind Cambridge Art Classes.
I also made a trip out to Burwash Manor to see The Artist’s Marquee, to have a look around the shops and to visit Rachel Dormor’s Gallery. The shops at Burwash Manor are all run by small independent businesses – and it is great to see somewhere dedicated to supporting businesses like these. It was nice to finally pop into Backstitch after following them on Twitter – they sell ‘stylish modern craft fabric and quality haberdashery’ and run a range of sewing classes teaching cross stitch, embroidery, dressmaking and more!
Ceramicist Rachel Dormor who is based in Cambridge also runs a gallery here which not only showcases her handmade porcelain tableware but also houses exhibitions of other makers and local artists. I picked up a flyer for the classes she runs and hope to get along to one of them this year!
After some lunch from The Larder we wandered around The Artist’s Marquee where I saw (to name a few) mixed media artist Laura Chaplin, printmaker Andy McKenzie, jewellery designer Heather Stowell, and artist/illustrator Jess Goode. There are plans for a permanent exhibition space to be built at Burwash Manor in the near future – I will certainly be keeping an eye out for that.
Having followed Lynn Norton on Twitter for a while now I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity of meeting her and Nina Sage at their open studio in Hilton. I am a huge fan of Lynn’s vibrant ink artworks and it was lovely to get the chance to hear more about her style, design process and the techniques she uses; especially her use of soft pastels, and salt to add texture and manipulate the inks. Inspired by the natural world she likes to focus on close-up details of her subjects.
Nina is an artist and printmaker who is also influenced by the natural world and whose works also show a clever use of colour. It was great to see examples of different printing techniques – linocuts, screenprints, etchings – and to learn about her processes and her joy of experimenting. Make sure you check out Nina’s website as she runs printmaking workshops suitable to everyone, whether you are a beginner or wanting to build upon the skills you already have!
Make sure you follow @CamOpenStudios on Twitter and Facebook! And put the following dates into your diary for next year: July 2016 | 2nd-3rd, 9th-10th, 16th-17th & 23rd-24th
Follow @thetrove_cambs on Twitter and Instagram where we will be posting more creative discoveries and highlights of art and craft events across Cambridgeshire!
By Stephanie Freeman