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.

Diary of an event – 2. Getting ready for the day

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Getting ready and decorating

As I write, our Summer Pop-Up Event is just a few days away. All very exciting, and an extremely busy time for Team Eclectic Mix!

We are super organised and have made lists. Lots and lots of lists.

Also, we have been making decorations for the venue, St Andrews St Baptist Church, which has involved tea. Lots and lots of tea.

Lorraine Hitt, Eva Eland and Cecelia Wood and me, Mandy, got around the table at Eclectic Mix HQ armed with tissue paper and wire, and we all thoroughly enjoyed making playful colourful decorations. Eileen Hori at the Baptist Church has been the most helpful host, and we really hope she likes the final look!

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For more formal meetings, the fabulous Cambridge Space has been a great venue for gathering our stallholders, making plans for how we see the event looking and feeling, and how we plan to get the word out. To have everyone sitting around the table sharing ideas about previous exhibitions has been super useful, as we all have hints and tips to share. There has been an overwhelming feeling of team spirit at these get togethers.

Local businesses and collaborations

A huge part of our show has been putting together all the marketing and promotional material, and we cannot thank Dario Fisher of Minuteman Press enough, for his unfailing professionalism, patience and advice. Thanks Dario, you really have been a star! We all agreed that the process is much better when you can visit your printer and speak directly with them, face to face.

Delia had a lovely guest spot on the radio last week, and she sounded great. A real natural. Leigh Chambers at Cambridge 105fm let us tell their listeners all about our event (you can listen here).  Plus we have been putting the word out on Local Secrets, Whats On, Mumsnet etc, so we hope lots of visitors will come! We think we might have picked a good date, as our event is on at the same time as The Town & Country Fair on Parker’s Piece.

To tempt people in, our loyal makers have offered raffle prizes, plus local businesses have given us goods and vouchers too. Proceeds from the raffle will go to two charities, Lifecraft and Azalea.

To date, we have received prizes/vouchers from the following businesses, and we are so grateful for their generosity.

Ark

Arts Picturehouse

Bridges Cafe

Callyco

Elem hair

Finn Jordan

Jacks

Navy Daisy

Michaelhouse Cafe

Salon 246

 

So even more reason to come on Saturday, to enjoy meeting our local artists and designers, get involved with the raffle, and if that wasn’t enough, there will be cake too!

For more updates on our event, do follow our social media platforms.

Also, we have been blogging about our lovely makers, so scroll down for some insight as to what you may find at our pop-up event, Saturday 10th June, 11-5pm, St Andrews Street Baptist Church, St Andrews Street, Cambridge.

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.

Diary of an event – 1. The idea and rebranding

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The idea

Sometimes it’s really good to take a break away from what you do every day, to spend quality time with your family and reflect. I’m very lucky to have family living in a very vibrant part of the world, and I’ve just returned from an exciting and restorative trip to South Africa. It’s made me come back lusting for bigger and better things for Eclectic Mix Cambridge.

The Team

First things first, I gathered together my trusty team, all bringing their own skills and ideas for Eclectic Mix (and they really are an eclectic mix!). Eva Eland is our talented Creative Web Editor (and children’s book author and illustrator in her spare time). Mandy Knapp, lover of things to do with networking and engaging, both in person and on social media, plus she’s an avid printmaker. Lorraine Hitt, wonderful jeweller (really edgy designs) with the best visualisation skills in graphic design and interiors.
I know, how lucky am I!

Rebranding

So we got together and threw around some ideas for our branding, what style we wanted to evoke, colours, what font best represented us. I’m no time, Lorraine produced a series of logos, and we quickly fell upon the one we all loved. We hope you love it too!

Choosing the logo

Planning a bigger event

The next thing on the agenda was to plan a pop-up event, which was going to coincide with the Town and Country Fair, 10th June. We were so lucky to find St Andrews Street Baptist Church had availability, and Eileen Hori has bent over backwards to accommodate all our needs there. It’s a beautiful venue close to Parkers Piece, in a cool, calm and beautiful church.
You may have noticed that we’ve been very busy on social media, promoting the wonderful designers and artists who will be selling their wares at our show, plus some pretty flyers and posters dotted around Cambridge.

Working together

I think the success of any event is all down to how well the team work together,  their rapport, communication and the contribution each member makes, including their approach and attitude to tasks delegated. which matters most rather than the task itself. By acknowledging their input and value, a  positive outcome is much more likely and  I can certainly say that our Eclectic Mix team have worked very well together, putting in a lot of time and effort into the planning of this event  – so it’s a big thumbs up from me to our team.
It’s been so exciting to observe the idea for both the branding and event:  from the incubation of the idea to where it is right now in full flight, watching the momentum building. All the prep (including the late nights!) and all the other things one has to do which couldn’t have been done without a great team – so I thank  everyone who’s been involved: from  the Eclectic Mix team of creatives including our two lovely art student volunteers Cecelia and Lauren,  to others more on the periphery,  such as our lovely print man Dario at Minuteman Press on Victoria Road (who has been so patient), the manager Eileen Hori at the venue and my friend Leigh Chambers who has helped with our press releases and radio interviews.
And at the end of the day, it is all about our cohort of great sellers, both those we know and newbies, who have helped to promote the event. So thanks to everyone one of you, without your input we couldn’t put on the show.

 

 

 

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

Summer pop-up event 10th June in Cambridge

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Summer pop-up in Cambridge

Our Summer Pop-Up Arts & Crafts Event, 11-5pm.

We have a lovely venue for our event, the beautiful St. Andrew’s St. Baptist Church, St. Andrew’s Street, Cambridge.

A real celebration of Cambridge and East Anglian designers, working with textiles, jewellery, printmaking and more.

Our speciality is sourcing talented artisans and makers, working to the best standards, and we can’t wait to showcase their wares.

Alongside established makers we will be introducing a student area, run by Cecelia Wood and Lauren Wilson, students from the Cambridge School of Art.

We are also running some drop in workshops so you and your family can partake in some hands on making too!

 

Just a short walk from Cambridge train station, and on lots of bus routes, with the Town & Country Fair on at the same time, there’ll be plenty to see and do.

Some light refreshments will be available, plus the venue hosts the Livingstone Cafe, where they serve a variety of light bites and drinks, all reasonably priced.

So come and spend a few happy hours browsing our stalls, learning new skills and immersing yourself in Eclectic Mix creativity!

You can sign up for the event on Eventbrite page, or stay posted through Facebook.

 

Are you an artist or maker and are you interested in selling at our event? We have a few tables left. Contact us at info@eclecticmixcambridge.com or fill in the form below if you want more information.

 

Pop-up at St Andrews Baptist Church, Cambridge

 

 

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!

 

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Spring is in the air…

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Spring is officially here as of this week (although you would hardly know with the weather being so decidedly chilly of late) I love spring with its promise of lighter days, warmer weather and the new green shoots sprouting up from the earth with the promise of better things to come.

New in

Talking of new things, we are thrilled to have Honor and Ronan of Avalon Jewellery selling through our website now. A lovely creative Cambridge couple working together from home to produce beautiful, quirky, ‘springlike’ creations.  Ronan is the brains behind the earrings you see below, which is part of their ‘honeycomb bee’ range inspired by their love of bees. Honor, his wife, makes glass hand spun beads from her home garden studio. She has produced some lovely ‘Art glass’ bead earrings in 10 different colours now on our website and includes those shown below in vibrant spring hues.  We think their designs are utterly delightful and beautifully crafted.

Have a look at Honor’s and Ronan’s products in the webshop and a wonderful little video of Honor making her glass beads on our Instagram feed.

 

Favourite season

I have a quick question for you: my favourite season is Spring. What is yours? Whatever it is, why not fill your home with its colours, flowers, artwork, or related ‘stuff’  in the style of your choice, be it ‘contemporary and clean lines’, minimalist or ‘quirky’ and shabby chic, whatever it is you like.  You can follow the latest trends and designs but if it doesn’t feel right to you what is the point. My motto is to only have around you the things you love. All that matters is it makes you smile and brings enjoyment.

See you next week when we will be talking about what makes you smile and Easter. What does it mean to you?