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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!


Cambridge Open Studios 2014; Top Picks For This Weekend


In conjunction with our Twitter and Facebook Art attack competition, we’re focusing on the top artists featured at this weekends Cambridge Open Studios.

There has been a record number of 272 artists committing to throw open their studio doors this year, creating a buzz within one of Cambridge’s best well known events in the cities art calendar.

Cambridge Open Studios is the longest-standing open studios events in the country, as it dates back to the 1960s and appears to be getting more popular every year.

Over the weekends of July 5/6, 12/13, 19/20 and 26/27, artists of all kinds throughout Cambridgeshire will open their doors to members of the public, completely free, and share a few of their artistic secrets.

Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase original works of art, and in some cases prints, greetings cards or postcards, though there will be no pressure to buy.

They can also speak with artists about their work, or even see works in progress, to discover their techniques.

Participating studios will be open from 11am-6pm though it is worth mentioning that not all studios are open on all the dates so visitors should check the website in advance.

To give you some inspiration, here’s our top pick of artists with open studios only this weekend…

Fernando Feijoo – Visual Artist/Illustrator

Fernando Feijoo – A Modern Marriage Scene Two – At the back end of town. A modern narrative based on William Hogarth’s Marriage a la mode.

Fernando describes his work as social, political and expressive.

He took part in Cambridge Open Studios 10 years ago whilst working as a printmaker. He’s returned this year in the hope that by having an open studio it would enable him to collaborate with local artists and broaden his audience base.

The main focus of Fernando’s work is a reflection on contemporary society, going as far as using his art to respond to social and political current affairs. Influences from the work of Hogarth and Goya were Fernando reinterprets and develops their narrative into a modern day context. See the image above.

There is a very strong sequential narrative, it’s been observed that Fernando’s work can be an immersive ‘where’s Wally’ experience. The observer can view his work and find numerous features that they may have not experience at first glance.

Fernando is currently working in collaboration with Matt Bagnal of The District Limited called #Project_Run2014. Together they are using a range of materials to creatively interpret the word run to produce a book and prints.

They will be holding the launch of this project on the 23rd of August as part as the Romsey Art Festival at the Front Room Gallery.

There will also be the opportunity to take part in a workshop on wooden block letter printing working, free and suitable for all ages.

Fernando has found the Cambridge Open Studios experience Intense but extremely rewarding and it’s provided him further opportunities to collaborate with local artists.

You can connect with him by visiting his website, or following him via his Twitter, Facebook or Flickr pages.

His studio can be found at 43 Hobart Road, Cambridge CB1 3PT

Abi Cochran – Silversmith

River Ring by Abi Cochran. Water sapphire, Gold and Silver. Wirework on a textured band.

Abi describes her work as sliver, detailed and organic.

She was inspired by her three generations of female creatives, Abi’s great grandmother mother and grandmother; Catherine ‘Casty’ Cobb.

Casty taught Abi up until the age of 18 alongside numerous committed students all the way through to her 90’s. Casty died on the 17th of September 1995.

After Casty past away, Abi spent time with Casty’s most committed and experienced students, advancing her knowledge and experience within the silversmith trade.

Abi’s creations are universally unique one of pieces using traditional techniques, such as Filigree wirework and fabrication. To compliment and accentuate her creations, Abi uses gems, resin and enamel.

Abi’s main influence comes from her Grandmother along side with fluid patterns and intricate detail. These influences translate frequently into her handiwork in the form of (and not just limited to) necklaces, cufflinks and lockets along with custom orders.

Her most recent influences include landscape aerial photography, specifically rivers running through rocky mountain ranges.

Abi explains that this influences her to “layer smoothly curving wires over textured silver and then embellish with gemstones and gold granulation.”

She has begun documenting this process by the creation of a ‘How To’ video. This can be found on her Facebook page.

Abi was asked what Cambridge open studios experience meant to her; “Cambridge Open Studios is a wonderful way to meet locals; Potential customers as well as making connections with other artists and makers. It’s a really nice way to get direct feedback.

Seeing someone in the natural habitat of their workspace is often more memorable than seeing work in a gallery or craft show, you get a sense of what has gone into the work, the tools and materials.

I’ve had customers who have visited my workshop over 10 years before and have remembered me when they’ve needed something special. I get lots of custom orders through Open Studios, it’s been a big part of my business.”

To connect with Abi, visit her website.

You can purchase her jewelry from her Etsy Shop. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, see what inspires her on Pinterest and read her Blog.

Abi’s studio can be found at: 5 Station Road, Fulborn CB21 5ER

Seb Antoniou – Painter

Seb Antoniou – Anti Gods Part 3 – Sequential Art

Seb would describe his work as strong, figurative and contemporary. His greatest influences are numerous – figurative painters ranging from Lucien Freud to Jenny Saville and Simon Davis. Seb is constantly looking at new artists which inspires him to improve his work. He also produces contemporary portrait and landscape paintings. His work has been exhibited at various galleries in the UK and Hong Kong. When asked about what Cambridge Open studios means to him, he said: COS is a good opportunity to show my work and speak to people about it in person. It’s a chance to discuss ideas and processes as well as getting feedback. It’s also great to see other artists work on display. To connect with Seb, you can visit his website. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Seb is represented by Graham Fine Art, Crouch End Seb’s studio is located at 22 Sturton Street, Cambridge CB1 2QA

  Sandy Mcphoenix – Textiles

Felix And Bloom Studio – Sandy Mcphoenix. Rolled felt flowers made into a festival garland or a wedding/bridesmaid’s garland

Sandy describes her work as retro, colour and everyday glamour.

She runs Felix and Bloom Studio, making accessories with a retro feel for the home and self. She uses vintage fabric, scraps, found and scrounged dressmaking and upholstery fabric and retro-styled fabric.

Sandy’s quirky and unique items range from brooches which are statement blooms with vintage linen and lace, real pearls, crystal beads, tulle, organza, liberty fabric centres, to embroidered sculptures: cottage gardens in display glass domes with wooden bases.

Like most creative folk, Sandy’s influence comes from her childhood; remembering mother had an old Singer that she always said was the portable kind – shiny green forged steel, unbelievably heavy, with gold writing.

“It sat on a table – perhaps the desk my sister now has in her study in Sydney – the same one my father had as a boy. I remember the piano next to it, piled high with papers, letters and blankets, perhaps even a fishbowl.

That was my parents’ bedroom and the sun would be at your back, blazing in and doing its best to fade everything. There was a tin trunk that you’d bash your shins on. My sister and I would rotate slowly on a chair while my mother pinned our hems and said she was only sticking us with pins because we weren’t standing properly still. “

Her specific inspirations come from fabrics and nature  – the garden: bugs and flowers and colours; and fabrics that tell you exactly what they want to be made into. Sandy is drawn to old things, retro fabrics, things that have that wabi sabi aesthetic of bashed-around beauty.

She has been quoted in saying: “Maybe it’s all to do with being Of a Certain Age myself and laughing up my own bell sleeve at the idea that I wear lipstick every day, know how to tie scarves and can do a speedy bouffant hairdo at the traffic lights. “

Future plans for Sandy include sewing and creative workshops for students of all levels, further web tutorials and the creation more vintage idiosyncrasies.

Sandy’s opportunity to participate in Cambridge Open Studios is hugely advantageous for her as she gets to talk to visitors about that vitally important thing – making things.

“It could be how I’ve made something or their experience of sewing or crocheting or sewing with our mums or sisters or how they learned embroidery at school on that weird fabric with holes punched in it.

This year my studio has been an “exhibiting studio”, which means it’s a kind of gallery-shop, which I’ve loved setting up. I’ve had no luck finding a job playing with puppies or kittens, so doing Open Studios is a great second choice – I get to make things I’d want in my house and things I want to wear.

I feel privileged and proud that visitors have spent their hard- earned money on my handmade items, choosing my insects for their anniversary present, a bloom for their glamorous lapel or one of my cottage domes for their table.”

To connect with Sandy, visit her website and you can also read her Blog.

You can visit Sandy’s studio at Holly Cottage, 59 High Street Bottisham, Cambridge CB25 9BA

Mohammed Djazmi -Printmaking

Windows by Mohammed Djazmi

Mohammed’s artistic aims come from social observation expressed through the medium of pencil drawings, etchings and oil paintings. He was born in the north-eastern Iranian town of Bojnourd in 1948 into an artistic family, with a grandfather who sculpted and a father who was a well-known local painter.

Under his father’s tutelage Mohammed learnt to paint from childhood under his father’s tutelage and had his first exhibition at 14, when his paintings were displayed alongside those of Bojnourd’s other artists.

During a trip to Tehran, the adolescent Mohammed met renowned Iranian realist painter, Tikran Bazel.

During his time in Tehran, he took drawing and painting classes at Bazel’s studio, gained a degree at the Tehran Art University and then progressed to the role of Bazel’s assistant tutor with responsibilities to teach private drawing classes.

Mohammed’s later influences include Cezanne and Monet, and in 1974 became the art expert at the Anthropology Centre of Iran.

After moving to the UK in 1984, he has been a full time artist ever since. In 2006 he gained a MA in Printmaking at Anglia Ruskin University. To connect with Mohammed visit his website.

You can visit Mohammed’s studio at 34 Minerva way, Cambridge, CB4 2UA.

Please comment on your visits to any of these artists below, or other open studios you have visited.

Send us photos of items you’ve bought and what you enjoyed the most.

Remember to share the love,  if you really enjoyed an artists work let them know!