“Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” photography exhibition

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”.

Corpus Christi College, Parker Library
The Parker Library, Corpus Christi College.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

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.

Handles at Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Handles at Emmanuel College Library.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

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.

Sara Rawlinson at King's College, Cambridge
Sara in King’s College Chapel.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

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.

Old Library, Jesus College, Cambridge
Old Library, Jesus College.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

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.

Library, Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College Library.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

 

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

Summer in the City 2

Cambridge is a city of bicycles and there’s no better way to get around, so buying a bike was top of my list when we moved here three years ago.  There are plenty of bike shops around and a cycle repair stall in the market most days.  My local cycle shop, Townsends on Chesterton Road, is fourth generation family owned and they kitted me out with a bike from their own range of The Light Blue cycles plus a strong lock, lights, a helmet and a wicker basket, then waved me off on my rather wobbly way!

The Orchard Tea Garden GrantchesterA favourite cycle ride is an easy one of about twenty five minutes, mostly on paths and through lush green meadows, out to Grantchester.  This very pretty, tranquil village was once home to poet Rupert Brooke who wrote of it nostalgically, “And is there honey still for tea?”  Well, The Orchard Tea Garden in Mill Way has been serving honey for tea since 1897 not only to Brooke but, back in the day, to luminaries like Virginia Woolf, Maynard Keynes and Alan Turing.  There’s nothing nicer than sitting in a deckchair in dappled sunlight under an apple tree here, enjoying tea and cake.  They also serve breakfast, lunch, scones and full cream teas and there’s plenty of indoor seating for cooler days.

Cambridge DistilleryAnother excellent pitstop in Grantchester is Cambridge Distillery on the High Street.  Master Distiller William Lowe creates award winning gins using freshly foraged local botanicals.  Lemon balm, blackcurrant leaf, magnolia and local honey all feature in the Spring/Summer 2018 seasonal gin which you can sample along with the rest of the range.  Maybe pre-book a Masterclass to boost your gin know-how or even create your own bespoke spirit at a private Gin Tailoring session.  The Distillery also offers four very special coffees which they can blend to your individual taste and has a beautiful city centre shop, Cambridge Gin Laboratory, on Green Street.

www.townsends-lb.co.uk

www.theorchardteagarden.co.uk

www.cambridgedistillery.co.uk

And don’t miss …..

Cambridge Open Studios, held over four weekends in July.  A unique chance to meet artists, craftspeople and designer-makers in their studios and workshops in and around the city.  Enjoy a feast of painting, ceramics, sculpture, handmade jewellery, glass, photography and much more.  You’ll find free printed guides for this event in shops, galleries and libraries and there’s an App to download too.

www.camopenstudios.co.uk

The Summer Night Market with open air cinema screening on 20 July.  Market Square will be buzzing with many of the regular market traders plying their wares alongside street food vendors, pop up bars and restaurants.  The family-friendly film “Paddington” will be screened at 6.30pm, followed by “Grease” at 8.30pm.  This free event is always popular so the advice is to get there early and maybe bring your own portable chair!

www.cambridgebid.co.uk/events

Cambridge Summer Music Festival, running from 23 June to 4 August.  In its 40th anniversary year, it brings a programme of different music genres to venues across the city and showcases young upcoming talent as well as established artistes.  A particular favourite of mine is “Sounds Green”, held at the stunning Cambridge University Botanic Garden on Wednesday evenings at 6.15pm.  It’s perfect for all ages … just take a rug and a picnic, sit back, get up and dance if you like and enjoy the music, be it tunes from local ensemble Prime Brass or Afro-Brazilian jazz, samba and bossa nova from four piece band Afrosamba.

www.cambridgesummermusic.com

The Big Weekend on Parker’s Piece from 13-15 July.  It’s all going on here with live music, a silent disco, fireworks, food stalls, sports and science activities, a children’s entertainment area and more.  Sunday 14 July features the Cambridge Mela, celebrating Asian culture.

www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/city-events/events/big-weekend

Cambridge Comedy Festival, returning to Cambridge Junction from 18 – 21 July with four performance venues, a covered “Moonshine Brewery” beer garden and street food vendors.  This is a great chance to see big name headliner comedians at Jesterlarf Comedy Club and Edinburgh preview shows as well as emerging comedic talent plus there are three family shows on Saturday 21 July.  Just like going to the Edinburgh Fringe without going all the way to Edinburgh!

www.cambridgecomedyfestival.com

 

This post is “The Cambridge Scene” column which I write for Eastlife Magazine.  To read more of the July edition, take a look on http://www.eastlife.co.uk

 

What’s on in July

Here’s the What’s On listing for July!  It’s an eclectic mix of all sorts of events that come to my attention and I’ll update it through the the month so do check back when you can.

Telephone boxes Cambridge
Telephone boxes at Great St Mary’s Church

1st    1pm  The Choir of Trinity College.  Lunchtime concert, a recital of music from the forthcoming tour to Germany.  Trinity College Chapel.  Free admission.

1st    3 – 5pm  Jazz on Jesus Green.  Cambridge Youth Jazz Band and Cambrideshire Youth Jazz Orchestra.  Free entry.  http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/city-events

2nd – 15th    12 noon – 8pm  Strawberries and Screen.  Wimbledon coverage from the BBC on an outdoor big screen next to The Tamburlaine Hotel, CB1

2nd    6pm  Lord Smith: The State of the Arts.  Pre-festival event from Cambridge Summer Music.  Old Library, Pembroke College.  http://www.cambridgesummermusic.co.uk

4th    6.15pm  Sounds Green – Prime Brass.  Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  Open air live music.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

5th – 21st    Cambridge Summer Music Festival.  http://www.cambridgesummermusic.co.uk

7th    9.30am  Cambridge Festival of Creative Writing.  University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, Madingley Hall.  Talks, seminars, panel discussions and workshops.  Tickets from http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk

7th    4.30 and 7.30pm  Music for a Summer’s Evening.  Fairhaven Singers.  Dove, Brahms and Parry.  Queens’ College Chapel.  http://www.fairhavensingers.org.uk

7 – 8th    11am – 6pm  Cambridge Open Studios.  http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk

8th    11am Cancer Research 5K and 10K Race for Life.  Jesus Green.  http://www.raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org

8th    4pm  O How Glorious.  A celebration of English choral music from Purcell to Finzi and beyond.  New Cambridge Singers.  Jesus College Chapel. http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk

9th onwards    Cambridge Shakespeare Festival.  Open air Shakespeare plays in college gardens.  http://www.cambridgeshakespeare.com

10th – 14th    7.30pm  Sweet Charity.  Cambridge Theatre Company.  Great Hall at The Leys School.  http://www.camtheatrecompany.co.uk

11th    6.15pm  Sounds Green – She’Koyokh.  Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  Open air live music.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

13th – 15th    The Big Weekend on Parker’s Piece.  Firework display 10pm Friday 13th.  http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/city-events

13th    8pm  The Gesualdo Six.  Pre tour concert.  Unaccompanied choral music from the renaissance to the present day.  The Round Church. Tickets on the door or from http://www.thegesualdosix.co.uk

14 – 15th    11am – 6pm  Cambridge Open Studios.  http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk

14th    5.30pm  Summer Choral Concert.  Choir of King’s College.  Elgar, Bernstein, Vaughan Williams and Dvorak.  King’s College Chapel.  Tickets from King’s College Visitor Centre.

14th    7.30pm  Viva la Musica!  Music from Spain with Cambridge Concert Orchestra and Chesterton Choral Society.  St George’s Church, Chesterfield Road, CB4.  Tickets from ccol@mentha.com

15th    Cambridge Mela.  A celebration of Asian culture and a market.  Parker’s Piece.  http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/city-events

18th    6.15pm  Sounds Green – T G Collective.  Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  Open air live music.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

18th – 21st    Cambridge Comedy Festival.  Cambridge Junction.  http://www.cambridgecomedyfestival.com

20th    6.30 – 10pm  Summer Night Market and outdoor cinema (Paddington 1 and Grease).  Market Square.  http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/events

21st    12 – 5pm  Castle Hill Open Day.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/events/castle-hill-2018

21 – 22nd    11am – 6pm  Cambridge Open Studios.  http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk

25th onwards    Summer at the Museums.  Fun family days out for all ages.  Making and creating, hands-on history and interactive science.  Low cost or free.  http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk

25th    6.15pm  Sounds Green – Afrosamba.  Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  Open air live music.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

26th    6pm  Cambridge SEO MeetUp.  Network while learning more about SEO.  The Bradfield Centre, 184 Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, CB4.  Free but you must book through the website at https://optimisey.com

28 – 29th    11am – 6pm  Cambridge Open Studios.  http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk

Flowers at Cambridge Market
Summer flowers at Cambridge Market

 

Cambridge Open Studios

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.

Cambridge Open Studios logo 2018
Image credit: Cambridge Open Studios

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.

Sara Rawlinson library
Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

Sara RawlinsonRegular 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 Rawlinson flower
Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

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

Rowan Humberstone Cambridge

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.

Rowan Humberstone Cambridge woodcarvingRowan Humberstone Cambridge woodwork

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.

Rowan Humberstone Cambridge textiles

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

Rowan Humberstone Cambridge vase
Image credit: Rowan

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!

ofo bicycle Cambridge
Image credit: ofo

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.

http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk

This event takes place at multiple locations in and around the city.