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In its 50th year a special party to celebrate Cambridge Open Studios

The studios are all free entry, 10am to 5pm

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Cambridge Open Studios celebrated 50 years at a grand party at The Graduate Hotel in Cambridge. In this 50th year of Cambridge Open Studios, there will be 350 artists opening their doors free to the public at 229 venues across the county of Cambridgeshire.

On show will be painting, photography, jewellery, printmaking, digital art, glass, mixed media, ceramics, drawings, textiles, and furniture. Many will have stories behind them.

Cathy Parker wearing a shawl made of the yellow Open Studio flag

Cathy Parker wearing a shawl made of the yellow Open Studio flag

Let’s start with baskets. How simple and uncomplicated you may think. But the docky baskets made by Nadine Anderson have a tale that would alarm anyone working today.

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They are so called because stopping for lunch when you were a Fen farm worker would once have meant your wages were docked. Packed lunches are still called dockies in some parts of Cambridgeshire.

Nadine Anderson’s studio in Main Street, Wardy Hill, Ely will be open on the first two weekends of July. Her traditional woven eel traps would still work.

Founding members of Cambridge Open Studios, Julia Ball and Elspeth Owen. Photo taken in 2014 but in this year's brochure

Founding members of Cambridge Open Studios, Julia Ball and Elspeth Owen. Photo taken in 2014 but in this year’s brochure

Also, at the 50th anniversary celebration at The riverside Graduate Hotel in Cambridge was Roxana de Rond, the humorously observant Cambridge illustrator who draws people enjoying themselves around the city – including at the Orchard Tea Room in Grantchester. She takes commissions.

When asked to draw a picture to celebrate a wedding she drew the couple’s first date. She is often asked to draw people’s homes, sometimes a home they are moving out of with family memories – sometimes a new home, sometimes both.

Carol Banks wearing her jewellery created with driftwood and the leaves of flowers

Carol Banks wearing her jewellery created with driftwood and the leaves of flowers

She says: “The more I know about people, the more I can include in the drawing. Every picture tells a story.”

One family had a pet tortoise who liked to escape so the tortoise is in the picture wandering off at the edge of the garden. Roxana also illustrates children’s books. When her own daughters were young, she kept a “drawing diary” of their days. She says: “I like drawing happy memories.”

Roxana’s work in Brunswick Terrace, Cambridge will be on show for the first three weekends in July.

Nadine Anderson with her docky basket

Nadine Anderson with her docky basket

Lucyna Mazur, (Lucy) makes colourful bags and cushions inspired by Polish folk art. “They reflect my heritage of Polish culture.” She has been opening her studio in Perne Road Cambridge since 2017.

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Her mother is originally from Ukraine and her father from Warsaw. Her parents were children during the Second World War but met and married in England where Lucy grew up. Lucy’s art-inspired textiles will be on show at her studio in Perne Road on the first and fourth weekend in July.

Richard Bray with a sculpture made of part of a Mulberry tree from Ramsey Abbey

Richard Bray with a sculpture made of part of a Mulberry tree from Ramsey Abbey

Richard Bray brought two of his large sculptures to the celebration, one made from a piece of an old mulberry tree in the garden at Ramsey Abbey and another in the shape of a torso made from a piece of felled oak in Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge. Richard has been opening his studio since the 1990s. His work will be on show in Angle End, Great Wilbraham on the second and fourth weekends.

The very first open studio was by artist Julia Ball who opened her painting studio to the public in 1972. Two years later, she invited a small group of artists to join her, including Christopher Castle and Christine Fox. Julia drew the posters by hand to advertise the event.

Illustrator Roxana de Rond with two of her drawings of Cambridge

Illustrator Roxana de Rond with two of her drawings of Cambridge

The studios of both Julia Ball and another founding artist Elspeth Owen will be open again this year, half a century on. Elspeth’s in Grantchester will be open on weekends two and three and Julia’s in Cambridge on weekends three and four.

The studios are all free entry, 10am to 5pm.

 

Photo caption: L-R: Alison Hullyer (COS), Anna Dempster (COS), Mark Alvarez (COS), Sarah Allbrook (COS), Dinah Pounds (Deputy Mayor), Robert Dryden (Councillor), Baiju Thittala (Mayor), Gabriella del Valle (COS), Rosanna Hall (COS) 

Photo caption: L-R: Alison Hullyer (COS), Anna Dempster (COS), Mark Alvarez (COS), Sarah Allbrook (COS), Dinah Pounds (Deputy Mayor), Robert Dryden (Councillor), Baiju Thittala (Mayor), Gabriella del Valle (COS), Rosanna Hall (COS)There are free yellow brochures around the town or see online at:

https://camopenstudios.org/

FACT FILE

For five decades, Cambridge Open Studios’ artists have opened their studios to the public for free over four weekends in July to remove potential barriers that might prevent people from accessing art and creativity. This July, the public can gain behind-the-scenes access to hundreds of working studios, browse unique artworks, enjoy live demonstrations, tutorials and workshops, and buy art directly from more than 350 artists across Cambridge, Ely, Saffron Walden and the surrounding villages.   

The 50th anniversary year is supported by four lead sponsors: Aston Shaw, Babouris, Flawless UK Group, and Mills & Reeves.

Find out more about Cambridge Open Studios, visit: https://camopenstudios.org/ or download the app by searching for ‘Cambridge Open Studio guide’ in the app store. 

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