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.’


Artist in the Spotlight: Veronica Ellis from Nature’s Grace

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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. Veronica Ellis from Nature’s Grace is the artist in the spotlight for this post. Veronica will be at our event so be sure to come down to see her lovely work for yourself!

Describe your work in three words:

designer – prints – gift-ware

A selection of Veronica's work
A selection of Veronica’s work

Why is ‘handmade’ so important to you?

It is important for me to touch and to make the things that have inspired me. There is a step before the making, that moment when an experience, a place, or a thought triggers the imagination. This is the time I pause and feel the experience which then flows through my hands as I make the object, create the image or write the words. When everything comes together, hand making is pure joy, and there is huge satisfaction in seeing a work completed.

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

I will be selling a range of my Nature’s Grace art prints and cards, along with designer gift-ware, including wood art, glass art, cushions, coasters and place mats. The range has been designed to transform homes with affordable stylish art. All the designs are original and created by me.

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

 The best part of making for me is the creative freedom to be inspired by anything and everything. Then there is the pleasure of seeing an image come to life. Often you begin with one thing and end with another. It is the little surprises and happy accidents that often create the best work. The worst thing for me is the freedom to be inspired by anything and everything! Yes, this both a blessing and a burden. So many ideas flow so quickly sometimes that I can’t keep up with the need to curate my work and make my products. So, I have become addicted to list making, and it keeps me on the straight and narrow…most days!

Where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere, but the thing that fires my imagination the most is nature. My two favourite things are trees and the sea, but everything from microscopic details to sweeping landscapes inspire me. The meaning of objects and stories are also important to me. I have a keen interest in art history and have spent years absorbing the works of my creative heroes. I see their influence coming out in my work, not always intentionally, but it is there.

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.

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