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: Terry Chance

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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 with a few questions in order to gain an insight into their practices. Terry Chance is the artist in the spotlight for this event. You’ll find Terry’s delightful mosaic birds and garden features at our Pop-Up

How would you describe your work in three words:

Colourful, quirky, handcrafted

 

Why is ‘handmade’ so important to you?

Each piece I make has its own process, emotion and personality. I love the imperfection of what I make, the asymmetry and the surprises.

 

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


I will be selling some colourful mosaic birds for the garden along with some other mosaic pieces.

terry chance edited

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


I love everything about mosaics – colour, texture, creating; mosaics are like puzzles and each takes you through an internal process. Very therapeutic and I even like the messy stage of grouting.

 

 Where do you get your inspiration?


Creating makes you look at things differently so I find inspiration everywhere – textiles, colour, shape, nature, objects.

 

 

 

 

 

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: Sue Smith

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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. Sue Smith is the artist in the spotlight for this post. Sue creates beautiful watercolor sketches of Cambridge and the surrounding areas – come to our event and see how many you recognise!

Describe your work in three words:

Cambridge, watercolour, sketches

sue smith

 

 

Why is ‘handmade’ so important to you?

Handmade means exactly that – made by hand with love care and attention. Something handmade is unique and contains something of the artist who created it.

 

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

Original artworks, prints, cards and postcards.

 

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

Finishing something! And letting it go to someone who loves it too – this can also be the worst part!

Doing what you love, what could be better than that? There really isn’t a worst part unless you count paperwork!

 

Where do you get your inspiration?

From what I see on my travels. I always carry a sketchbook.

 

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.

 

 

 

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?

Artist in the spotlight: Katie Farrell from Mabel Fox

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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 with a few questions in order to gain an insight into their practices. Katie Farrell from Mabel Fox is the artist in the spotlight for this post. Katie’s enchanting lino cuts are a treat – they will be available to buy at the Pop-Up event so come and see them for yourself.

 

Describe your work in three words:

Enchanting – Scandinavian – Art

 KF image 1

Why is ‘handmade’ so important to you?

I think that owning a handmade item means more than something mass produced, it feels more personal and special. Every one of my prints will be slightly different as they are all hand burnished, I think their imperfections add to their charm.

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

Hand burnished, limited edition, lino cut prints of woodland and garden creatures, either framed or unframed. I will also have small versions of these prints, framed in simple white frames, great gifts! There will be greetings cards, bags and cushions featuring my prints, plus aprons and tea towels.

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

When I make a print with a new linocut design for the first time, seeing it in different colours is so exciting. Then to see the reaction from the person the print is named after, that is priceless. The worst part is mounting and framing the prints, bit laborious but worth it in the end.

Where do you get your inspiration?

After designing a linocut print for my newest niece’s christening– Evelyn Bunny – I was inspired to design a print for each of my children, nieces and nephews, for example; Daniel Fox, Connor Wolf, Edward Squirrel and Charlie Mouse. My style is influenced by Scandinavian Folk art.

Grey image KF 4

New Student Volunteers: Cecelia Wood

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Eclectic Mix Cambridge is very happy to welcome Cecelia Wood and Lauren Wilson to their team. They are both illustration students at the Cambridge School of Art and will be volunteering in the run up to the summer pop-up. They are also organising the student area at the event.
They are both very talented illustrators with a passion for making and will tell a little bit about themselves in these blog posts.

About me – Cecelia Wood

So far my time at the Cambridge School of Art has been a whirlwind, filled with lots of work, but so much fun and the chance to learn so much! My work is inspired by nature, its patterns, colours, shapes and textures, and I’ve loved exploring screen printing as a medium to combine these things. I will have framed screen print collages for sale at the pop-up event (take a sneaky peek at the image here).

Framed abstract screen print collage
Framed abstract screen print collages
Cecelia Wood Nature in the City 3D collage
3D Collage

I love layering, and finding the balance in an image: between simplicity and complexity and between abstraction and representation. My favourite material must be paper; it comes in so many forms. The touch and smell of a lovely piece of handmade paper holds so many possibilities for a project!
My work has been moving towards incorporating 3D elements. Recently I had an exciting trip to London as my 3D collage was shortlisted for the Batsford Illustration Prize. At the pop-up event, I’ll be selling framed versions of 3D paper collages, based on my drawings done on location at Cambridge Botanic Garden (see images below).

 

 

 

 

 


Lauren Wilson and I are excited to be presenting a diverse range of our own and our peers’ handmade products in the student area, direct from the workshops of the Cambridge School of Art, all at affordable prices. It’s going to be a great opportunity to engage with the thriving arts scene in Cambridge – as well as a lovely arty afternoon out! Hope to see you there on 10th June!
For more images of my work please see my website: https://ceceliawood.myportfolio.com