Arts & Crafts: Why The Trove is a local treasure
Stephanie Stott, 29, from Earith, runs The Trove Cambridge, shining a spotlight on more than 100 inspirational creatives, from illustrators, ceramicists and painters to photographers, interior designers and gallery owners
What led you to start the Trove?
“I have always been creative and went to the University of Manchester to study architecture. Unfortunately, I have struggled with my health since having glandular fever as a child and so found myself having to leave after my second year. When I moved back home to Cambridgeshire in 2013, I was inspired to learn more about the local creative scene and started blogging about my discoveries. The Trove Cambridge was established and over the last six and a half years - alongside working in administrative roles - I have attended and volunteered at an incredible array of creative events and workshops across the county, networking with hundreds of inspirational creatives along the way.
In 2016 I found myself bed-bound for six weeks and later that year I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). I slowly improved and returned to work part-time but after my health declined again in January this year, I made the decision to leave my job and look at ways of working from home to better manage my health.
How has The Trove developed?
I have been developing The Trove Cambridge into an alternative platform to showcase the work of local artists, designers and makers – and when I left my job in January, I applied to be part of NatWest’s Back Her Business campaign.
Through this exciting initiative I launched a crowdfunding project in March and successfully raised 195 per cent of my target! This included matched grant funding from NatWest and a prize of £2,020 which awarded as part of their Bring It 2020 competition. The support I received was incredible and it has enabled me to launch The Trove Cambridge as a business venture.
What essentially does The Trove offer?
It has become the county’s online creative hub where we invite you to explore Cambridgeshire's creative scene; whether you are looking to sign up for a workshop, attend an exhibition, find a framing service, or buy a gift from a local artisan, we aim to spark your curiosity.
It also provides networking opportunities and promotes the ethos of shopping and supporting local, via our website and campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Can you tell us about some of your creative members?
Through the crowdfunding campaign we welcomed 40 new members to our #WeAreCambsCreatives collective. We now have over 100 active members, from illustrators, ceramicists and painters to photographers, interior designers and gallery owners. We are very proud to have established an inclusive community of creative professionals and hobbyists from a diverse range of creative practices.
We hear some of the members have been doing their bit for NHS heroes during the pandemic?
Yes, we have seen some of our members join forces with community groups across Cambridgeshire to sew scrubs, masks and kit bags for NHS workers. Groups such as Scrubs For Cambridgeshire, organised by local fashion and jewellery designer Gioconda Gomez, is just one of the amazing community groups working to support the NHS.
Can you tell us a little about the Treasures Box project?
In 2014 I started to promote the hashtag #CambsCreativeTreasures on Instagram which recently hit an incredible 10,000 shares! It has been amazing to see hundreds of local creatives and organisations sharing their work and discoveries with us. Inspired by the amazing talent we have discovered through the community feed on Instagram, we are looking to launch a series of 'Treasures Boxes' that will be available to buy via a new online shop later this year.
What are your hopes for the future of The Trove?
I am working with one of our members Dario Fisher to launch #CambsCreativeScene - a magazine that will be distributed to the public and local businesses across the county, showcasing our members and their work.
The ultimate goal is to bring on other team members and take our online hub to a physical space. In the meantime, I will hosting networking events for local creatives and the public. Our first will be a virtual exhibition and market to support local indie artists, makers and small businesses who have been affected by the cancellation of events due to COVID-19. Our #ShopCambridgeshire Virtual Showcase starts on June 15 and you can find out more by heading over to our Facebook event.”
* Find out more at thetrovecambridge.co.uk
MEET THE CREATIVES
Sue Rapley brings nature’s beauty into your home and life from her Cambridge studio. She believes that spending time in the natural landscape brings nourishment, joy and peace to our daily lives. Responding to these natural influences she creates contemporary land and seascape artworks
which convey this emotional connection.
Dario Fisher is an illustrator from Swansea, based in Cambridge. His illustrations are born out of a love of nature – particularly that of the ocean, inspired by whale watching trips in America and
Iceland! Pen and ink drawings are mixed with paint and digital techniques to create a heavily stylised set of illustrations, capturing the scale and wonder of deep-sea creatures.
Elsiem Jewellery (Lorraine Hitt)
Elsiem Jewellery is a modern brand created by Cambridge-based designer Lorraine Hitt. Her former design career disciplines, which include graphic, 3D and architectural, are prevalent in her creations.
Elsiem Jewellery’s pieces are simple but stylised, with an edge. The latest collection is designed using CAD and 3D printing - and some pieces are combined with metal elements, which beautifully unites the modern technology and traditional metalsmith techniques.
Cleiog Ceramics (Menna Edwards)
Menna Edwards is a small batch potter working from her home studio in Cambridge. Menna’s ceramics are thrown in stoneware on the potter’s wheel, and are simple and functional with a contemporary feel, inspired by vintage French pottery and fabrics, and glazed in soft muted colours.
Pink Coat Club (Joy Margot)
Pink Coat Club is an online brand founded in 2017 and based in St Ives, Cambridgeshire. Joy designs unique, colourful accessories and stationery that celebrate her love of sewing.
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