March brings us a couple of Cam Late events. Pacific Late celebrates all things Pacific on 7 March at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. Quaff a tropical cocktail as you watch Polynesian dancing, handle Pacific objects, meet researchers and upcycle crafts inspired by the new Pacific Currents display which highlights Oceanic collections dating from the late 18th Century to the present day.
LATE at Kettle’s Yard is happening on 8 March and invites you to come dressed as your favourite artist to enjoy music, making and a café/bar plus an out of hours viewing of the exhibitions “ARTIST ROOMS Louise Bourgeois” and “Julie Mehreta Drawings and Monotypes”.
The University of Cambridge is a world leading seat of learning and at the heart of each of its thirty one colleges sits a library, the hub that preserves books, manuscripts and documents and which has disseminated knowledge down the generations. Photographer Sara Rawlinson has turned her lens onto these contemplative places, which are often hidden from public view, in her project “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries”.
As well as wider shots of the libraries, Sara particularly likes to concentrate on tiny details of structures and textures such as radiator grilles, bolts, shelving systems and their numbering. Sara will be showing images from twenty five college libraries at her “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” exhibition which is happening at the Heong Gallery in Downing College from 11 – 17 February. The exhibition will also feature several rotating pyramidal lecterns designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th century and which are being loaned by the Wren Library at Trinity College.
Sara grew up in Minnesota, USA, working throughout her childhood alongside her photographer grandmother in the dark room. She went on to have a very successful research and academic career, taking a PhD in Seismology and Earth Sciences and subsequently running a Masters degree course in Natural Hazards at the Australian National University. Throughout her scientific career, Sara continued to take art classes and eventually left the academic world to pursue her love of photography. She relocated to Cambridge with her husband and young daughter a couple of years ago and now runs a full time fine art photography studio from her home in the city.
Alongside the “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” project, at the invitation of the Dean of Chapel at King’s College, Sara has been photographing the historic Chapel in a new light with an artist’s eye, capturing images of areas that are hidden from view and tiny details that are often overwhelmed by the grandiosity of the space. It’s as well that Sara has a head for heights as she’s climbed the tiny stairwell and negotiated the narrow corridors to get on to the Chapel roof and has also, by serendipity, been up in a cherry picker (which was deployed to replace lights in the Chapel), allowing her to take some amazing shots from a lofty perspective.
Sara’s work was featured in the national press and online in 2018 as three of her images across both projects were shortlisted for the Historic Photographer of the Year award. She is a member of Cambridge Open Studios, a community of around five hundred artists, craftspeople and designer-makers working throughout Cambridgeshire. Last year, she transformed her house into a gallery for the first time to showcase her photography as part of the annual Open Studios event which takes place over weekends in July each year. This year, Sara is planning to show her work at Open Studios again but this time in the Cellarer’s Chequer in Beche Road, a Grade 2* listed building owned by Cambridge City Council which is on the site of Barnwell Priory and which is rarely open to the public.
The “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” exhibition at the Heong Gallery will be open from 10.30am – 6pm each day from 11 – 17 February and entry is free. There will be a Private View on 11 February from 6.30 – 8.30pm which will include readings from Cambridge based poet Michael Brown of poetry he has written in Pembroke College Library. For more information on the exhibition, on Sara’s work, to register for the Private View and to buy prints, visit http://www.sararawlinson.com
It’s always a pleasure to visit Rowan, the Humberstone Road based arts centre and charity for people with learning disabilities. There’s such a friendly and purposeful atmosphere there as the student artists go about their work in small groups with tutors. They create beautiful pieces in the wood, ceramics, print, textiles and mixed media studios, undertake many private commissions and sell their work at exhibitions and events.
Rowan is holding its popular annual Winter Warmer on Wednesday 5 December from 5 – 8pm. Everybody is welcome and entry is free. You’ll find handmade gifts and cards, wooden reindeer, wooden table displays and ceramic tree decorations to buy and you can make a gorgeous ceramic Christmas tree at the Christmas workshop. And, of course, there’ll be mulled wine, mince pies and live music too!
Rowan’s major fundraiser for 2019 is the “Cambridge Seen” art exhibition, happening on 9 and 10 February at Long Road Sixth Form College. To be part of this, you can get creative and produce a piece of art work or go along to the exhibition to invest in some art. Or indeed, you can do both! You don’t need to be a professional artist at all … just buy a canvas from Rowan for £10 and, using whatever media you like, make a piece of art inspired by your view of Cambridge. A bridge, a building, a landscape, your garden … there’s no limit to the possibilities. Then when you’re done, return your completed canvas to Rowan by 1 February. Here are a couple of artworks that have been returned to them already.
Every penny raised from this “Cambridge Seen” exhibition will go to fund Rowan’s work. Activities here give the students a daily routine and structure as well as helping with development of their social and communication skills, building their self-esteem and increasing their self-confidence. There’s a real buzz as they mingle in the light, spacious communal areas at breaks and mealtimes. All places are subsidised so there is a need for fundraising year round to make sure that this remarkable venture and its student artists can continue to thrive.
For more details of Rowan, the Winter Warmer and the “Cambridge Seen” art exhibition, take a look at the website.
Cambridge Original Printmakers Biennale returns to the city from 21 – 29 September with forty three printmakers, who specialise in hand-pulled original prints, exhibiting at the historic Pitt Building on Trumpington Street.
The Biennale was inaugurated in 2014 by three local printmakers who built it into a bigger event in 2016, adding more speakers, workshops and demonstrations as well as producing a catalogue. This year, the exhibition is further expanded to showcase the next generation of printmakers from the city’s two sixth form colleges and the Art Foundation courses at Cambridge Regional College as well as graduates of the MA Printmaking course at Cambridge School of Art.
I met with Steve and Tracey Ashman, both members of the core team which organises this event. They’re working hard to develop the educational aspect of the Biennale with an enriched programme of workshops, demonstrations and talks lined up. They’re also producing a limited edition book featuring the work of all the printmakers exhibiting this year. And in a fascinating marriage of cutting edge technology with traditional printmaking techniques, their 3D Print Project will use a 3D printer to create a plastic template which is inked up and then hand pulled on a press.
Organising the Biennale is no mean feat. Steve and Tracey tell me that planning starts twenty months in advance when the core team comes together, each member bringing a different skill set and taking on different responsibilities. Printmakers, who must live within a thirty five mile radius of Cambridge, submit their work by the end of January, then the images are sent to an independent panel of art world professionals. Their selection process takes time as entries are always oversubscribed but by the end of March, two thirds of submissions have been accepted. The Biennale all comes together in one gloriously hectic day in September as the team sets up the exhibition in the Pitt Building before opening with a private view that evening.
The Cambridge Original Printmakers Biennale is open from 10.30am – 5pm each day and entry is free. Talks are free but there is a charge for workshops. A booking facility for these plus full details of the programme are on the event website.
The annual Cambridge Open Studios event returns as the workshops and studios of 350 artists, craftspeople and designer-makers across Cambridgeshire open their doors over four weekends in July to showcase painting, ceramics, sculpture, handmade jewellery, glass, photography and much more.
This is a great opportunity to see artists at work, to discuss their techniques and inspiration and to browse, buy or even commission their work, although there is no pressure to buy. Entry to all studios is free. Last week, I caught up with a couple of participants who are getting ready for Open Studios.
Regular readers of this blog may remember photographer, Sara Rawlinson, who I first met last September when I wrote about her journey from seismology to photography and her exhibition at Michaelhouse, “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries”. Over these past months, Sara has continued with her project, taking stunning photographs of more college libraries. She has plans for another exhibition and is also branching out into flower photography, particularly looking at tiny details, the texture of petals and frosty grasses in monochrome.
Sara is looking forward to opening her home studio in Beche Road for the first time and will be welcoming visitors on all four weekends. Find out more about Sara and her work on http://www.sararawlinson.com
Over at Rowan in Humberstone Road, the student artists are hard at work creating beautiful pieces in their studios. Rowan is an arts centre for people with learning disabilities and there’s truly a family atmosphere here. The student artists are supported to be autonomous, encouraged to learn and try new things and to enjoy being together in the light, airy social spaces that run through the building.
The work spaces were a hive of activity when I dropped in last week, with gorgeous cards being produced in the Print Studio, wooden phone stands, lamps and candlesticks coming from the Woodwork Studio and bright felted wool scarves hanging up to dry in the Textiles Studio.
The Ceramic and Mixed Media studios were equally busy and the Rowan team, who are old hands at the Cambridge Open Studios event, are looking forward to welcoming visitors on the weekend of 7 and 8 July. Proceeds from the sale of the student artists’ work go straight back into the charity to enable their remarkable work to continue. Rowan also takes commissions for one off pieces. You’ll find more on http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk
In a new initiative, Cambridge Open Studios has joined forces with ofo bikes this year, with the dual aim of helping visitors travel between city centre studios easily whilst reducing the environmental impact of the event. You can locate ofo bikes using the free ofo Smartphone app, available from the App Store or Google Play. Then just use a code printed in the Open Studios yellow guidebook to claim five free one hour ofo bike rides and get pedalling!
Studios will be open to visitors from 11am to 6pm on July 7/8, 14/15, 21/22 and 28/29 and entry is free. Do bear in mind that not every artist will exhibit every weekend. You’ll find printed guides for this event in shops, galleries and libraries. You can also go to the website to download the 2018 COS App which gives full details of the Open Studios together with an interactive map to help you with planning your day and navigation.
Kettle’s Yard House and Gallery on Castle Street has recently reopened after a lengthy refurbishment which has enabled Director, Andrew Nairne, and his team to create new gallery space to display modern and contemporary art from around the world.
The opening exhibition, “Actions. The image of the world can be different”, showcases the work of thirty eight artists. “Actions Part 2” will open on 11 April with a two screen film installation, “Auto Da Fe”, from John Akomfrah and paintings by Caroline Walker who, in collaboration with the charity Women for Refugee Women, has painted refugee women housed in temporary accommodation in London.
At the heart of Kettle’s Yard is the house, once home to Jim and Helen Ede who created it from four derelict eighteenth century cottages in the late 1950’s. With a lifelong passion for art and having worked as a Curator at The Tate during the 1920’s, Jim became close friends with many artists including Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood and David Jones. Over the years, Jim acquired a significant collection of art and sculpture which he brought to Kettle’s Yard along with furniture, glass and ceramics. But the Edes equally valued natural found objects and artwork by their grandchildren. More than anything, they wanted their art to be enjoyed in an informal domestic setting, holding open house every afternoon of the university term and welcoming undergraduates to their home.
Natural light was crucial to the Edes. The day I visited, the streets were carpeted in snow and the light had a very special ethereal quality to it. I was struck by the tranquillity of the house and by its colour palette with exposed brick, varying tones of wood, natural linens, pebbles, feathers and shells, all harmonising with the Ede’s art collection to create a wonderful serenity. Jim and Helen handed over the building and their collection to the University of Cambridge in 1966 so they knew it was in safe hands but it must have been a wrench for them to leave this peaceful haven when they moved to Edinburgh in 1973.
The Ede’s musical tradition continues today with a varied programme of contemporary music and chamber concerts in the house. New archive and research areas have given enhanced research opportunities in collaboration with the University’s History of Art Department. A breathtaking double height space is now home to Kettle’s Yard’s education and community programme, hosting a year round schedule of events and activities, many of them free, for all age groups. It includes workshops, talks, panel discussions and artist led drop in workshops for families every Sunday.
At The Garden Kitchen Cafe, you’ll find tea, Fairtrade coffee, cake and light lunches with vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. The Shop offers a carefully curated selection of cards, prints, books and jewellery with ceramics from The Leach Pottery and from local ceramicists Rachel Dormor and Maree Allitt alongside beautiful bespoke wrapping paper from Cambridge Imprint, its design inspired by a Barbara Hepworth fabric.
Kettle’s Yard is a very special place that I know I will return to again and again. There’s such a lot going on there, far more than I can write about in this post, so do check out the website for full details of all that’s happening over the coming months. Then go and experience the magic of Kettle’s Yard for yourself.
Sara Rawlinson is both scientist and artist. She grew up in Minnesota, USA, working throughout her childhood alongside her photographer grandmother in the dark room. Sara went on to have a very successful research and academic career, taking a PhD in Seismology and Earth Sciences and subsequently running a Masters degree course in Natural Hazards at the Australian National University. Throughout her career, she continued to take art classes and eventually left the academic world to pursue her love of photography.
Sara relocated to the other side of the world and, inspired by the beauty of the Cairngorms in her new Scottish home, she became more interested in landscape photography. Now, having moved to Cambridge nearly a year ago, she has turned her lens on to Cambridge college libraries, with the aim of making some of the hidden parts of Cambridge more visible. “It’s the knowledge contained within those walls,” Sara tells me “and that these historic buildings have preserved and disseminated that knowledge for so long.” As well as wider shots, Sara particularly likes to concentrate on tiny details of structures within the libraries such as radiator grilles, bolts, shelving systems and their numbering.
50% of the opening night proceeds from this exhibition will be donated to the World Literacy Foundation, a global not-for-profit organisation that works to lift young people out of poverty through the power of literacy. That same night (2 October), there will also be a Silent Auction of two of Sara’s framed photographs with 100% of the winning bids going to the Foundation.
“Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” runs from 2 – 14 October at Michaelhouse in Trinity Street, a beautiful converted 14th century church. On 7 October, Sara will be running a photography workshop, looking at details of this historic building and giving participants a chance to share their photos and talk, maybe whilst enjoying some food from the excellent Michaelhouse cafe.
For those who are wondering, Sara hasn’t turned her back on science entirely ….. along the way, she fell in love with an Australian seismologist and (to paraphrase!) reader, she married him.