What’s On: Incredible artists taking part in Cambridge Open Studios
-Now in its 49th year, Cambridge Open Studios will see 365 magnificent artists across 244 venues, open their creative spaces to the public for free. Louise Cummings selects six of her favourites
*Artist: June Massey
Specialism: Fused glass
About: June’s love of glass began when she watched a talented lampworker making glass animals on the seafront in Great Yarmouth. “I was aged seven or eight at the time but it took until 2014 for me to make my own piece of glass when I came upon a fused glass workshop by accident on holiday in Norfolk,” she recalls. “The feeling of pure joy when I picked up my fired coaster is replicated every time I lift the lid on my kiln to see how my latest piece looks.”
Inspirations: As a photographer, June finds inspiration in shapes, specifically ‘the sea, landscapes, bark and anything seen from an unusual angle’. “Finding unique raw murrine glass made in Croatia has added another fun dimension to my work, and my range now includes small gifts, functional glass (dishes, candle holders etc), glass art, jewellery and my original design greetings cards,” says June.
Where: Haddenham Arts Centre
When: Weekends 1 and 3
*Artists: Maree and Paul Allitt
Specialisms: Contemporary ceramics and pottery
About: Maree and Paul have worked together as artists on and off since they went to art college in the mid-70s, although only took up ceramics comparatively recently.
“We'd like to think our pots are contemporary, fun and colourful with a touch of Mid-Century style,” they explain. “We worked for many years at Kettle’s Yard house and gallery, so its close association with British Modernism and the St Ives School added to our oldest influences, like John Clappison’s designs for Hornsea Pottery.”
Inspirations: The pots are handmade in porcelain, slab built with applied slip patterns and solid colour glazes. “They're not significantly functional in the traditional sense, nor sculptural, perhaps mantelpiece ornaments,” say the sculptors. “There’s a tradition of pottery there that runs through Staffordshire flat backs and the like, something of the fairground, a glimpse of wonder.”
Where: St Barnabas Press, Cambridge
When: Weekends 1
*Artist: John Franklin
Specialism: Vivid statement jewellery
About: Though his first love was sculpture (including carving a full-size swan in alabaster), John became fascinated with the focus and process of making jewellery by hand. Graduating from the Birmingham School of Jewellery in 2019, making fine gem-set jewellery, he today works from a small Great Shelford home studio.
When the pandemic hit, and supply routes were lost, John focused on colouring metal in interesting ways by printing colours and designs onto aluminium. “Anodised aluminium has the unique characteristic of taking colour with special ink, giving a vivid metallic effect,” he explains. “It is also super-lightweight, making comfortable statement earrings.”
Inspirations: Initially inspired by the natural world – more specifically butterflies, black opal, and the Northern Lights – John is fascinated by artworks made by craftspeople from cultures across the world (particularly Islamic architecture and the ‘trendy revival of the traditional Hanfu robe in modern China based on original designs’.)
Where: The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge
When: Weekends 1 and 2
*Artist: Sarah Lucy Lee
Specialism: Classical still life oils
About: “I paint with oils as I love the rich intense colour and creamy medium of the paint,” says Sarah. “When I paint, time and the distractions of daily life melt away. I enter a space that is silent and restorative and emerge sometime later feeling a little more complete! Painting has been a therapy as I negotiate the stresses and strains of modern life.”
Inspirations: “Beauty in all its forms in the natural and man-made world resonates deeply and re-energise me from within. Much of my work is an outworking of my inner response to beauty,” explains Sarah. “I remember from childhood, a strong response to beauty, not only from the lakes and mountains of my childhood home, but from daily life around me such as a vase of flowers, the fall of a piece of fabric, a well-loved garden or a carefully arranged set of objects on a shelf.”
Where: 19 Saxon Road, Cambridge, CB5 8HS (Studio Number 12)
When: Weekends 2 and 3
More at: sarahlucylee.com
*Artist: John Douglas Piper
Specialism: Sculpture, drawing and printmaking
About: John’s work includes figurative sculpture, storytelling through collections of found objects and sculptures surrounding folklore, legend and myth.
Inspirations: The artist’s series of 'Black Shuck' sculptures celebrate the East Anglian legend of Black Shuck. “The name was given to a ghostly black dog which is said to roam the countryside of East Anglia,” explains John. “The meaning and appearance of Black Shuck vary considerably in folklore with this series of sculptures showing the breadth of meaning and personality. Black Shuck was also said to be the inspiration of Arthur Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles.”
Where: John Piper Studio Unit 6, The Mount, High Street, Toft CB23 2RL
When: Weekends 3 and 4
More at: johndouglaspiper.com
*The Artists’ Marquee at Burwash Manor
Not sure which studio to visit? Well, pop along to Burwash Manor in Barton to see a treasure trove of talent under one roof, courtesy of The Artists’ Marquee Group.
A selection of 20 artists, including Saffron Walden-based ceramicist Claire Folkes, innovative jeweller Justine Jarman and incredible illustrator Clare McEwan, the artists – spanning painting, print, photography and sculpture - will be showcasing their talents for the first four weekends in July as part of Cambridge Open Studios.
Feast your eyes on the work of nine different artists each weekend, pop into The Larder for some delectable treats while you’re there, and help raise money for local charity Arts and Minds, which supports positive mental health and wellbeing through creativity. Last summer the group raised £1,700.
*See the full Cambridge Open Studios line-up at camopenstudios.org
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