Out & About: Cambridge Open Studios

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Eclectic Mix Team have been busy visiting Cambridge Open Studios this month. We saw Clare Maria Wood, who does amazing abstract landscapes of the Cornish landscape, Sasha Garrett showcasing her fascinating, quirky ‘fordite’ jewellery and Andy Mckenzie at Burwash Artist’s Marquee who was showcasing some new lines of coasters, mugs and prints. Also we met some other lovely artists including Emma Malfoy and Laura Chaplin at the Marquee, producing very professional and attractive work.

We are always on the lookout for makers using unusual materials, and it was at All Saints Craft Market where we came across a lovely jewellery company, ‘Little Troubles’ who make sustainable striking jewellery from coffee pod foil tops. How cool is that!

We were so pleased to be invited to the launch of Pam Wessen’s new ‘pop up’ shop on Mill Road, called Fantasia. Chock full of all things retro and vintage; if you are fan then get along to her outlet to have a good rummage. You may come away with something ‘old but new.’


‘Handmade’ according to Avalon Jewellery

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Glass Bead Earrings by Honor from Avalon Jewellery

We are very happy to announce that Ronan and Honor from Avalon Jewellery are going to have a stall at our summer pop-up on June 10th. In the running up to the event, we are putting our sellers in the spotlight and asked them a few questions.

Ronan and Honor were one of the first to get on board and we are very excited about their new products. Keep an eye out on this website, as we will be uploading some of them the coming weeks and don’t miss out on a chance to try their jewellery on at our summer pop-up.

Just like the names of their beautiful, handcrafted pieces of jewellery, Honor’s answers to our questions read like poetry.


Describe your work in three words

Modern – English – Jewellery

Why is ‘handmade’ so important to you?

‘Handmade’ is important to us because it makes us open up our imagination to the world and then use our creative skills to bring our ideas into being.

‘Handmade’ things need imagination, care, a willingness to experiment and sometimes fail, concentration, skill, stamina, patience, impatience, attention to detail, time and perhaps most importantly, love, but not necessarily in that order.

‘Handmade’, by its definition, means that human hands have been used to make something original and lovely with someone original and lovely in mind and what can be better than that?

What will you be selling at our Eclectic Mix pop up event on 10th June?

A range of jewellery made from precious metals and stones including bangles, earrings, pendants, necklaces and rings, some of which includes art glass.


What’s the best part of making what you do? And the worst?

The best part of making our jewellery is the collaboration between us. We love to marry materials which we like to think brings a unique quality to some of our jewellery, especially our sterling silver and art glass earrings and pendants. Ronan very much enjoys the complexities of working with precious metals and stones whilst I love working with art glass for its extraordinary colours and because the process needs skill but is clean and quick with endless possibilities.
As for the worst part, I can’t speak for Ronan, but for me, using a hot torch to make glass beads in the Summer heat makes life very difficult, and I have been known to sit with my feet in a bowl of iced water before now. Even Murano glassmakers close down in the hottest months. What happened to chilly British weather all year round? Maybe my shed could double up as a sauna (not a good look with protective eyewear) or maybe I just need to head for a landscape where I can watch icebergs float by. On second thoughts, shaping molten glass in the middle of a melting igloo may not be such a good idea. Heading shedwards shortly instead, and loving it.


You can find out more about Avalon Jewellery on their artist’s bio page, or have a look at Honor‘s and Ronan’s shop on our website. Don’t miss out on meeting them at the summer pop-up. They are a very inspiring and warmhearted couple and we feel blessed to have them in our team of sellers.

Mandy Knapp at Creative Reactions

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Printmaker Mandy Knapp - Creative Reactions - Pint of Science


Printmaker Mandy Knapp was thrilled to be partnered with Dr Sander van der Linden for the Creative Reactions aspect of this years Pint of Science festival.

Every May, scientists and researchers are invited to deliver their talks at local pubs, which makes a lovely change from them just sharing the information with their colleagues in the lab or college. What an opportunity to tell the general public all about their research and passion!

Three years ago, Mandy Knapp and Karen Jinks set up the pilot for Creative Reactions, where artists were paired up with each of the speakers, and each artist made some work in response to their talk. It’s a fantastic opportunity for creatives to access science directly, and exciting for the scientists to collaborate and see how their work can be interpreted.

So this year Mandy has got the subject of Fake News to grapple with. Dr Sander will be using lots of medical metaphors in his talk, and Mandy has taken this on board with the work she has made. He talks about vaccinating the herd against Fake News, and Mandy has enjoyed exploring this concept, referencing Rene Magritte’s Treachery of Images. The resulting potent image features a pipette, which is a play on words, connecting to Magritte’s ‘ceci n’est pas une pipe.’ Her work called ‘The Treachery of Fake News’ will be for sale, along with some single dose vaccine cards.

You can book your free ticket here.


Printmaker Mandy Knapp - Creative Reactions - Pint of Science

What does ‘handmade’ mean for artist and printmaker Mandy Knapp?

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What does 'handmade' mean for artist and printmaker Mandy Knapp?

Mandy Knapp is an artist from South Cambs, and we have been asking her what ‘handmade’ means to her.

My own space

“I am very lucky to have a small print studio in my garden, so I can take myself off to my own space and make, without having the distraction of computers or mounting housework.

Cup of fruit tea in hand, and with music from my phone, I can shut myself off and get printing. I never seem to suffer from creative blocks. Because my time in the studio is often snatched and precious, I always use it constructively. As with many people, I have work and family commitments to juggle, which makes studio time very special.



Happy accidents

For me, the ‘hands on’ inky nature of printmaking is just delicious. When you are manipulating freshly made pigments, where the viscosity is never constant, using found textures to ink up and run through the press, you are never absolutely sure of how the print will turn out. With experience, you have of course a rough idea, but I really enjoy the happy accidents that occur along the way. The resulting work has a very much handmade, individual look that I want to convey. I’m not interested in producing multiples of a ‘perfect’ image. I like making bodies of work, but each piece is unique. I hope people like that, and feel they are taking away something individual that cannot be copied exactly.

Artists invest a lot of themselves in their handmade pieces. What a wonderful thing to own a representation of a particular artist/maker. Its such a personal thing, and we should not lose sight of this. Who wants ‘massed produced’ when you can spend the same amount of money on something with individual beauty?”

Mandy is helping us with social media and we feel very lucky to have her on board with Eclectic Mix Cambridge. She is always smiling and full of ideas. She will also sell some of work at our next pop-up event on June 10th.


New logo

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As Eclectic Mix has grown and evolved over the last few months, we decided that our brand needed a facelift. A fresh approach to our look was needed, and one of our lovely sellers said, “Oh, I could help with that!”

Little did we know that contemporary jeweller Lorraine Hitt, was such a talented designer too! We quickly decided that a strong logo could just be text, without using any motifs, and identified the areas where the logo would be needed. It was important it could work on all social media platforms as well as on printed matter.  Many caffeine fuelled meetings later, agonising over colours and fonts, we finally settled on a look we loved. We hope you love it too.

We wanted it to convey a bright upbeat feel, that reflected the fantastically creative vibe here at Eclectic Mix Cambridge. Lorraine has come up trumps!






Guest post by Onur Pinar: Which colours look good together?

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Guest post by Onur Pinar: Which colours look good together?


Onur Pinar is a portrait photographer based in Cambridge that makes stunning portraits. Have a look at his website. He also keeps a blog where he shares some insight and tips on photography. The post below about colours is one of them.

Which colours look good together?

Which colours look good together? Life is colourful. We see colours every day in nature, we use them while choosing our outfit, painting our houses, are affected by them when buying products, looking at art, photographs, movies.

But which colours actually look good together?

The colour wheel

When white light is bent or refracted by a prism, or by water droplets to create a rainbow, it separates into a continuous gradation of colours. By making these colours into a circle, we get a colour wheel, which artists use as kind of map of the colour universe.

The first thing to notice is that the colour wheel can be sliced in half, separating warm and cool colours. Warm colours often remind us of energy and joy, while cool colours convey calmness and peace.

As we work our way in towards the centre of the wheel, we explore different tones of the same colour. (Any colour that is “greyed down” is considered a tone.) A mixture of tones can be used to convey complexity, subtlety, sophistication.

What the wheel misses is the addition of black and white:

Tints are colours with white added. Using a variety of tints often conveys a soft, youthful and soothing effect.
A shade is any colour with black added. Shades can be deep, powerful and mysterious.

It can be fun to play around with tones, tints and shades of the same colour. If you want to involve more colours, here are a few more ideas to match colours, based on the colour wheel.

Complementary colours are any two colours opposite each other on the wheel. (For example, blue and orange.) Such combinations create high contrast, so are best used when you want something to stand out. You might like to try one of the colours as the main background (or main part of your outfit) and add small accents of the other colour. You might also like to play around with different shades and tints of both of these colours.

Split complementary colours use three colours. The scheme takes one colour and matches it with the two colours adjacent to its complementary colour. (For example, blue, yellow-orange and red-orange.) This is often a nice scheme to use because there is a good contrast of colours, without the clash of the complementary colour.

Analogous colours are any three colours next to each other on the wheel. (For example, orange, yellow-orange, and yellow.) Try to focus on tints of analogous colours and avoid combining warm and cool colours in this scheme.

Triadic colours are any three colours that are equally apart on the colour wheel. For example, red, yellow and blue. The triadic scheme is high-contrast, but slightly more balanced than direct complementary colours. With this scheme, and schemes involving, even more, colours, it is best to let one colour dominate, and just have small accents of the other colours dotted around.

Choosing colours

You may already have a sense of the colours you want to use, depending on your mood, or the emotion you would like to convey. For example, you might pick bright colours if you’re feeling cheerful, or darker ones if you’re feeling sad. Or perhaps you might like to play around with the colour wheel or find inspiration in nature.

Most of all, when choosing colours, try not to overthink it. Just wear and surround yourself with the colours that you like.

Enjoying Easter Holidays

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Enjoying Easter Holidays

© Photo by Eva Eland

Whether you are looking for Easter eggs or listening to the St. John Passion, Easter is another mark in time that tells you spring is here and is here to stay for a while.  Let’s hope for some good weather the coming days so all Easter picknicks, egg hunts and first BBQ’s of the year can be enjoyed.

Did you know that eating eggs was originally not allowed by the church in the week leading up to Easter? That’s why people started decorating them instead, to give them to their children (BBC.co.uk, 2012).

Just like eggs, rabbits are a symbol of new life. This cute (and very affordable) lino cut print by Maria Meridian is inspired by the character ‘Fiver’ in Watership Down.



Petite Rabbit from Watership Down – Handmade lino print by Maria Merridan


We definitely get spring vibes with the Retro Bird Map plate by Andy McKenzie.

Bygone Days – Retro Bird Map plate by artist Andy McKenzie


Or what about decorating yourself instead of Easter eggs with these springlike earrings by Jackie Lucas from Cloudberry Design?

Cascading berry earrings by Jackie Lucas Cloudberry Design


Happy Easter Holidays!







The story behind the bags of Ruth Schmid

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The story behind the bags of Ruth Schmid

The story behind the bags of Ruth Schmid

One of the things I like about Cambridge is the interesting mix of events and people that mingle together, like at the Cambridge Science Festival.  Every event I go to I meet interesting people. Some are scientists, some artists, some world travellers. Sometimes they seem to be all, in one package, like Ruth Schmid from Qhere. At the moment she is travelling in Cambodia, so an order might take longer to arrive, but have a look at her bags.

I asked her a few questions.

How did you start making these bags?

I was looking for meaningful work after we had moved from Switzerland to Cambridge in 2002. Working as a sociologist, which is my academic degree, was out of the question. I wanted to finally work with my own hands and produce something tangible and real. I was good at sewing, and there were plenty of advertising banners waiting to for a better fate than ending up in a landfill. So the idea was born to give them a second life as shopping bags.

What inspired you to use those banners? 

Initially, I used new materials to produce bags. One incident at the beginning of my work was when I found several large banners in a skip. The colors were beautiful, the material is strong and durable, but it’s thin enough to work with a regular sewing machine. And then I started to notice all these advertising banners across the city. And so I started asking around whether I could get hold of them after they no longer served their initial purpose.


Does science and the Cambridge Science Festival have a particular meaning for you? 

My husband is an academic at the University and both my kids are studying physics. I am the more artistic and practical counterpoint in our family. But using banners from the Cambridge Science Festival is a particular pleasure. The words and pictures on the Cambridge Science Festival banners become visual elements of the bags, and many of my customers like the idea of doing something environmentally friendly while getting something that reminds them of a great event.

Maybe you can share something about the durability of the material and your vision on sustainability? 

A few weeks ago I saw somebody on the market in Cambridge who was still using an advertising banner shopping bag bought a few years ago. That felt great. Not just because it’s a product I made, but also because it is a small contribution to a more sustainable world. Across many areas of my life I have developed an interest in re-using stuff that others have thrown way, and in trying to avoid unnecessary waste. This won’t solve the problems of saving our planet, but it’s a small contribution to producing less waste.

A selection of events during the Cambridge Science Festival

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Cambridge Science Festival

© Photo by Eva Eland

We selected a few of the events from the Cambridge Science Festival that might be of interest to all the lovers of art and storytelling. All text is from the website of the Cambridge Science Festival where you can also book the tickets (click on the titles to go directly to the event’s page). Are you planning to go to the Cambridge Science Festival? We’d love to hear from you.

Fast fashion: slowing it down

Thursday 16 March: 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, CB1 1PT 

A seminar with a sustainable fashion designer, about a holistic approach to fashion, from materials to production, and why it’s worth considering sustainability and social impact! Presented by Anglia Ruskin University


Materials science workshops

Saturday 25 March: 10:00am – 2:00pm

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Tea Room, First Floor, 27 Charles Babbage Road, CB3 0FS 

Drop in any time to get hands-on with a wide range of fascinating materials science, physics and chemistry experiments, for all ages.


Chemistry Stories

Thursday 23 March: 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Department of Chemistry, Cyber Cafe, Lensfield Road, CB2 1EW

There are stories about chemistry behind every new drug discovery, every baked cake and every baking powder volcano. Come along to hear how the human side of chemistry can be hilarious, heart-breaking, delightful and shocking through true stories told by both scientists and non-scientists.

Presented with the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Polar data into art

Saturday 25 March: 11:00am – 12:15pm

British Antarctic Survey, Lecture Room, High Cross Madingley Road, CB3 0ET 

Discover how art can unlock patterns and create beauty from polar research data with a series of talks by artists and polar scientists. Come along to enjoy “Data as Art”, which highlights the innate beauty of data visualised. Artists have worked with polar scientists to interpret and present their data in stunning and creative ways, in areas as diverse as space weather, marine acoustics and climate science. Visitors will also have a chance to see the brand-new Innovation Centre “Aurora Cambridge”. More information at: www.bas.ac.uk


Tuesday 14 March: 8:00pm – 9:15pm

St John’s College Old Divinity School, All Saints Passage, CB2 1TP

What the future holds for the Danaus butterfly remains to be seen, but Simon Martin’s research can be seen to reinvent the mythical narratives embedded in the system of classification that underpins it. Through these experiments, science becomes a medium for the continuation and retelling of these stories.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

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Celebrating International Women's Day

From left to right: Bex Burston from The Blue Design Shed, Iona Howard and Lorraine Hitt from Elsie M. Jewellery.


In an ideal world we don’t really need an international women’s day but until we reach that world, we might as well celebrate and have our voices heard on this particular day. A lot may have changed but there are still battles to be fought.

Time for celebration

How will you be celebrating? According to the website of International Women’s Day “the tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers”. I’ve never thought of it that way but it seems to be a good day to think of those women that inspire us, that we feel proud of and are thankful for and to let them know. Did you know Delia was inspired by her mother to start This is Eclectic Mix? You can read more about it in the first blog post: Electic Mix – Journey so far.


On https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Events you can find events related to International Women’s Day in your area. I’ve highlighted a few that might be of interest.


Did you ever hear of the Imposter Syndrom? Apparently, it is particularly common among high-achieving women.

8th March 2017, 13:00 – 14:00 “Why do I feel like a fraud?” Kate Atkin, Msc during International Women’s Day at Cambridge University Hospitals.An informative and inspiring session exploring courage, confidence and the imposter by Kate Atkin,

An informative and inspiring session exploring courage, confidence and the imposter by Kate Atkin, MSc ; Inspirational speaker, training consultant and leadership coach



More interested in art? This is a great opportunity to get a feminist tour of the New Hall Art Collection.

8th March 2017, 5.30pm – Artist/Curator Seana Wilson will give a feminist tour of the New Hall Art Collection focusing on works that specifically challenge gender assumptions.



Struggle with body image (among 91 % of women, according to the trailer)? This film might help to get some insight in how the media influences or body image and help to embrace the way you look.



Or if you are more interested in being the one behind the camera, this documentary by Kirsten Johnson seems to give a great insight in the creative process of documentary filmmaking. “A must-see for anyone with an interest in documentary filmmaking.”



“Is the continuing under-representation of women in leadership roles a result of nature or nurture? Does education play a part? How important are mentors and positive role models? Is lack of confidence a factor?”

If you have the same questions, you might be interested in the launch of this unique research by Professor Barbara Sahakian, Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at University of Cambridge in collaborating with Bailey Fisher Executive Search at the Women 4 Technology reception.



More interested in the history?

You might enjoy Women In Cambridge – ‘Nasty forward minxes, I call’em!’, a talk with local historian Nancy Gregory to celebrate International Women’s Day.



I wish I had time to go to all these events. Let us know when you go and what you took away from it. Happy International Womens Day!

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