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.’

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Diary of an event – 3. The big day

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Summer pop-up Eclectic Mix Cambridge

Well, that all went rather well!

Saturday saw the doors being flung open for our one day Summer Pop-Up event at St Andrews Street Baptist Church. From a trickle of visitors to an absolute swarm, we so enjoyed welcoming everyone in.

We had two lovely bubbly helpers on the day, greeting everyone in with a friendly smile and offer of raffle tickets. Thanks so much to Rachel and Fran for being the fabulous first impression of our event. Our stall holders did us proud with beautiful displays of their handmade wares. Special mention goes to Sasha Garrett’s husband Richard who crafted a placard to signpost our event. He was our man on the street, herding visitors our way. What a guy!

One tries to imagine what the stall layout and look will be before an event, but we were overwhelmed with the quality of work and the effort everyone put in. We are so lucky to have such a brilliant group of makers.

 

Elsie m. jewellery
Elsie m. jewellery

To keep everyone refreshed and fuelled, our volunteers Iona and Rikki worked tirelessly serving delicious confections from Tom’s Cakes, with cool drinks to keep us hydrated. We picked a warm day for our event, and we were most comfortable in the cool of the church! Little did we know, we would provide a cool respite for visitors from the blazing sun of the Town & Country Show on Parker’s Piece.

Another star of our day was Steve the caretaker of St Andrews Street Baptist Church. That lovely man accommodated our every need and nothing was too much trouble. He and Eileen Hori who booked us in and advised us, were an absolute joy.

As a result of our event, enquiries and sales were made, and so were friends. Many of the sellers hadn’t met before, and new alliances and friendships have been forged. I’d say that was a pretty successful day.

Detola's lampshades
Detola’s lampshades

 

 

We are planning more events for autumn and before the festive period, so look out for more details in the coming weeks.

Artist in the Spotlight: Lorraine Hitt from elsie.m jewellery

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In the lead up to our Summer Pop-Up event on the 10th of June we asked our artists and makers a few questions in order to gain an insight into their practices. Lorraine Hitt from elsie.m jewellery makes elegant pieces that are timeless. Visiting her stand at the pop up is a must for all jewellery lovers!

How would you describe your work in three words:

Simply, Stylish & Edgy.

Lorraine Hitt from Elsie M. Jewellery

 

Why is ‘handmade’ so important to you?

Makes every piece unique & I get so much pleasure handcrafting my own designs.

 

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

My handcrafted silver & brass contemporary jewellery.

 

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

Seeing people wearing my designs. Constantly marketing my work.

 

 

Where do you get your inspiration?

Interior architecture, fashion, sculpture, anything with a simple form.

 

Artist in the Spotlight: Birgitte Bruun

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In the lead up to our Summer Pop-Up event on the 10th of June we asked our artists and makers a few questions in order to gain an insight into their practices. Birgitte Bruun is the artist in the spotlight for this post. Birgitte’s clean, beautifully simple jewellery designs are handcrafted from silver, and will be available to buy at the Pop-Up event – so come and see them for yourself.

Describe your work in three words:

Contemporary, timeless, elegant.

Solid Silver Stubs Birgitte Bruun
Solid Silver Stub Earrings

Why is ‘handmade’ so important to you?

Handmade pieces of jewellery have the makers creativity and skills reflected in the final piece.

Birgitte in studio

Birgitte in her studio, creating hand-crafted designs

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

The best part is seeing someone appreciating and wearing something you have made, the worst when ideas don’t translate to a finished piece as you imagined they would.

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

Silver jewellery

Silver 'wide hammered' bangle by Birgitte Bruun
Silver hammered Bangle

Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m inspired by Scandinavian Design ethos and like to make timeless, simple designs.

Artist in the Spotlight: Aurora Lombardo

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In the lead up to our Summer Pop-Up on the 10th of June, we asked our artists and makers a few questions in order to gain an insight into their practices. The artist and maker in the spotlight for this post is Aurora Lombardo – her pieces are timeless and elegant and are sure to add an Italian flair to the Pop-Up. This year Aurora was part of the Cambridge Creative Reactions event. This art and science related event has been associated with Pint of Science festival since 2015 . During the build up to Pint of Science, Aurora was one of around 50 local artists who created an artwork related to the scientific talks. She acutally used to be a biologist herself!

How would you describe your work in three words:

Colourful, vibrant, unique.

Aurora Lombardo Creative Reactions
“Inner Landscapes” necklace inspired by the way DNA is organised within the nucleus of the cells

Why is ‘handmade’ so important to you?

I make, buy and love handmade! Handmade products for me are more than just an object: it’s the time, the attention, the effort, the love that goes into making each piece of work that makes them so special. Making things by hand is such a basic human fulfilment! When you make something, you leave a part of yourself in it; similarly, when you buy something handmade, not only are you going home with an unique object, but also with a piece of personal history.

As a mum, I also believe that teaching children the importance of making things by hand and exposing them to a wide variety of arts and crafts activities is very important to stimulate their creativity and imagination. And this is in fact the ethos behind the work I do through The Jazzy Jewelz Studio.

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

A range of sterling silver, dichroic glass & ceramic jewellery and accessories. I will also have a table all set up for drop-in jewellery making sessions.  There will be a  full menu of beaded items to make, from bracelets & necklaces to bag charms and colourful beaded suncatchers.  I’ll explain the method, provide the tools and be on hand should anyone require any help. The projects are suitable for children aged five and up, and grownups can join in too!

Aurora Lombardo earrings

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

Dichroic glass is a fantastic medium to work with: there’s always something new to learn: this type of glass can be very temperamental, but persistence brings great rewards!

I also love experimenting with new materials and techniques, pushing them to the limit to see whether something new can be achieved. Although experiments aren’t always going to yield amazing results, for me this remains the most exciting part of my work as a jewellery maker!

The worst part is using a polishing motor to give a high shine finish to my silver pieces: I hate that machine with a passion: it is scary, messy and I end up looking like a chimney sweep after using it!

 Where do you get your inspiration?

Most of my creations stem from workshop experimentation rather than from detailed planned drawings. Inspiration seems to strike from all sorts of places: an architectural feature, the textures and colours of the natural world, a landscape element, but a couple of emerging themes for me at the moment are science and biology.

 

Artist in the Spotlight: Sasha Garrett

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In the lead up to our Summer Pop Up on the 10th of June, we asked our artists and makers a few questions in order to gain an insight into their practices. The artist in the spotlight for this post is Sasha Garrett. Sasha is a gifted jeweller who will be selling at our Summer Pop-up. Come along and see Sasha’s wonderfully handcrafted pieces for yourself.

Describe your work using just three words

Colourful, unusual, fun.

Why is ‘handmade’ so important to you?

I’ve always made things by hand, I like the connection it gives me with the materials. Hand-making also allows me to have a relationship with the client and the piece – it can be tailored to what they want whilst still having my character.

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

Sasha Garrett
A selection of Sasha’s work which will be at our Pop Up event – the big green earrings are made with material from an old bowling ball whilst the cuff links are made from fordite, which is layer upon layer of cured car paint!

 

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

Best part
– I get to indulge my love of ‘rocks’ and call it work.
Worst

– have you seen the state of my hands?

‘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.