Cambridge Open Studios 2014; Top Picks For The Final Weekend

Last weekend we brought you our top pick of the penultimate weekend of Cambridge Open Studios. To round it all up, We’re bringing you our final top five picks of the last weekend of 2014’s Open studios.

Remember, we’re doing this to get you involved with our Twitter and Facebook Art attack competition. We want you to take the Oxfam Logo and incorporate it into our theme ‘Summer’.

We’d like you to get creative using MS Paint, Photoshop or any digital manipulation program and create us your own work of art. As an example, see this awesome poster created by one of our volunteers.

We want you to send them to us via Twitter, or post them on our Facebook wall.

The best and the worst entries will win a prize! closing date Monday the 28th of July.

As Cambridge studios draws to a close, here are the dates for next year:

  • Weekend (1) July 4th-5th
  • Weekend (2) July 11th-12th
  • Weekend (3) July 18th-19th
  • Weekend (4) July 25th-26th

Ian Smith –  Glass, Fused, Cast, Stained

Large Lattice Bowl Red Slumped - Ian Smith
Large Lattice Bowl Red Slumped – Ian Smith

Ian has always loved the feel and appearance of glass.

After a career in science & engineering, He started exploring what was achievable in this medium.

Ian discovered that glass is an amazing material. The way it reacts to heat, cold, pressure and abrasion can be surprising. If you can understand what the glass wants to do, you can make wonderful objects.

Above all, Ian wants his designs to be functional and useful as well as beautiful. He concentrates on making bowls, plates, dishes and containers, although bowls are Ian’s favourite form.

Most recently, Ian has been exploring the fabrication of thicker-walled kiln-formed bowls, using various designs and different approaches.

You can connect with Ian by visiting his website. Ian takes commissions all year round.

Ian’s studio can be found at Ian’s Glassworks, 11 Lynfield Lane, Cambridge, CB4 1DR.

Amanda Macphail – Bone China And Paper

Amanda Macphail
Amanda Macphail

Amanda describes her work as lively, usable and contemporary.

She is inspired by using her natural ability to observe the world around her, the simple process of viewing other practicing artists exhibitions and galleries motivates her to translate what she has viewed into her own unique work.

Amanda’s biggest influence is her husband who is a set designer. Being in an environment where your life partner is also a creative professional gives Amanda the ability for frequent creative debate with him.

Amanda studied illustration and design at Art School and worked as a freelance illustrator producing work for various books and magazines and has shown her work nationally.

Amanda taught Graphics and Illustration on the Cambridge Foundation Course for many years.

When asked what did Cambridge Open studios mean to her, she enthusiastically described that it was hugely important to give her visitors a personal insight into to her work. Alison thrives on being able to explain to a wide range of audiences how she would go about creating her unique pieces.

Another very important part of this experience is sharing her techniques with others, and being able to learn new ones by the medium of the spoken word.

Part of Alison’s studio is to run workshops for all ages to share her techniques, were the participants can walk away with a unique  bone china mug or plate they have created.

Even those who say “I can’t draw a line” are enthralled by what they achieve.

You can connect with Alison by visiting her website.

More information about the classes she runs can be found here.

Alison also welcomes commissions. You can find out about her forthcoming events here.

Her studio can be found at The Wooden House, Twentypence Road, Cottenham, Cambridge CB24 8SP


Edward Parker – Sculptor In Metal


Edward has had, to say the least, a varied career.

He began his working life as an electronics engineer involved in avionics, he moved on to process control engineering, designing refinery and petrochemical systems.

Following a time in sales he somehow re-emerged as a printer and responsible for an advertising agency.

Following his second marriage he built a mobile children’s bookshop and ran a children’s book publishing company.

He went on to become a landscape and garden designer and from there metamorphosed into a blacksmith making gates and fountains, this lead him back to his creative roots.

He now describes himself as a sculptor and designer. This is his first foray into Open Studios as an artist in his own right.

You can connect with Edward by emailing him.

He can be found at The studio at Beechcroft, 51 Fen End, Over, Cambridgeshire, CB24 5NE

Valerie Jean Pettifer – Mixed Media And Pastel Painting

Valerie Jean Pettifer
Valerie Jean Pettifer

Valerie Grew up in York, and loved nothing more than spending her time drawing and painting.  Her ambition was to train as a commercial artist, but in the 60′s this was not viewed as a ‘proper job’ for a girl, so she trained in hairdressing instead, and moved to London to work in the family business.

Valerie spent the next 9 years in this profession, before a change of direction took her into the electronics industry where she pursued a successful 33 year career in HR, specialising in Vocational Skills Training and Occupational Safety & Health;  sadly art stayed on the back-burner.

Everything was set to change,  in 2006 with her retirement looming a chance invitation to join her aunt on a painting holiday changed the course of her life.

The dormant passion for drawing and painting was reignited and after joining the Royston Arts Society in 2008, she was delighted when two pastel paintings were sold in their annual exhibition.

This spurred Valerie to do more and in 2009 she joined the Cambridge District Art Circle, which then led her to apply for selection to the Cambridge Drawing Society in 2011; something she had aspired to for a number of years.

Whilst all this was going on Valerie spent all her time attending painting workshops, reading art books, visiting galleries and eventually tutoring painting holidays and workshops.

In 2012 Valerie took yet another step forward by signing up for Cambridge Open Studios. Her entire house became a gallery and she opened her studio (a back bedroom) to the public for two weekends in July.

Valerie has described her first experience being part of Open Studios as ‘amazing’. She met so many interesting people and found it wonderful to share her experiences and art work with other like-minded people.

The last chapter in this saga started in 2013; a studio in the Old School, Whittlesford – a venue became vacant for both workshops, Cambridge Open Studios and a permanent gallery for my work.  It was inevitable that Valerie knew to snap this opportunity up.

Valerie hopes that her story will inspire you to take up the wonderful hobby of painting – it’s never too late to start!

This will be Valerie’s third year with Cambridge Open Studios, and this year she will be sharing her studio space with Cambridge based artist, Sue Rapley.

Sue will be showing her new collection of vibrant original paintings and cards, including land and seascapes in a variety of media, exploring movement, light and reflections.  To find out more about Sue, visit her website.

Valerie will be using this opportunity to  show her latest collection of mixed media work, including semi-abstracted collage & acrylic works on canvas, card and watercolour supports.

She’s currently experimenting with acrylic mono-printing, so she hopes to have some interesting results to exhibit, which will also be available to purchase.

Valerie considers Cambridge Open Studios a highlight of the local artistic calendar, it not only gives her the opportunity to invite both friends and the public in to view her studio and paintings, but also have the chance to talk about the wide range of arts and craft based workshops that are regularly held in the studio.

To compliment the open studio, the Essex Framing services gift shop and gallery next door and Oxbow & Peach will also be open each weekend, turning your visit into a real opportunity for a spot of retail therapy.

of course the pretty village of Whittlesford is always well worth a visit, especially if the weather is good.

You can connect with Valerie’s by visiting her section on the Old School Studio’s website.

The studio is located at Old School Lane, High Street, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB22 4YS

Rodger Coleman – Photographer

Roger Coleman
Roger Coleman

Roger trained as a fine artist at Edinburgh College of Art, and has never lost contact with the hand and eye skills I developed there. In 1968 he became a founder member of ‘The Welfare State’ community arts group, which carved out a reputation for innovative celebratory events and performances.

In the late 60s and early 70s he taught at Leeds and St Martins schools of art, and later worked on community-based renovation projects, acquiring the designing and making skills that he applied to developing socially useful products and services through the GLC technology networks when the red flag flew above County Hall in Margaret Thatcher’s era.

In 1991 Roger set up a flourishing centre for ‘inclusive’ design at the Royal College of Art, to ensure that older and disabled people are no longer marginalised by inconsiderate design. The centre also specialises in design for safer and better healthcare.

Alongside photography and drawing, Rodger designs and makes furniture in his workshop/studio. You can visit Roger in July and at other times along with my ceramicist wife, Sally Reilly.

You can connect with Rodger by visiting his website.

His studio can be found at Lyndhurst Studios, 92 Station Road, Soham, Ely, CB7 5DZ

That wraps up our feature on artists taking part in the 2014 Cambridge Open Studios. I very much hope we’ve inspired you to go visit our featured artists, and also look at the many others taking part in COS.

Don’t forget, if you didn’t have a chance to see this years artists, there possibly be a chance to view their Winter show. Check out the website for more info.

If you are an artist wanting to take part in next years Cambridge open studios, click here for more information.

Keep your eyes peeled for our future blogs on how as a shop, we are involved within the Cambridge arts scene.

Have a read of our meet the volunteer blog where we speak to Pupsy.

Pupsy is our resident artist and creates unique pieces of art from donations given to the shop.

Being able to upcycle donations into something new and very unique, enables us to create something you wouldn’t always find in the average charity shop.

Here’s some photos of his work you can buy in store:

You knew Oxfam Mill Road isn’t your average charity shop!


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