A few of my favourite things

One of my favourite events of the year is the Cambridge Open Studios in July, where local artists of every genre open up their studios for the public to visit and see their work. Open Studios members also host other events throughout the year and the website contains details of several local artists – so you can contact them directly all year round.

I have visited a number of the artists’ studios over the years and there are plenty of others I am yet to see. But with Christmas (sorry!) not too far away and people thinking about gifts for their loved ones, I thought I would share some of my favourites…

 

bbruun 1

Selection of contemporary bangles, by Birgitte Bruun.

 

Birgitte Bruun is a Danish born jeweller who makes some beautiful pieces using a range of stones, metals and techniques. Her jewellery has a really contemporary feel and I particularly like her bangles, including the beautiful opal cuff in the picture below – the perfect gift for someone with an October birthday (though I’m probably better suited to an Aquamarine gemstone myself…) . I visited her studio a couple of months ago when buying a birthday present for a friend and all her pieces were so lovely it took a long time to decide what to buy. If you’d like to see some of Birgitte’s jewellery you can arrange a visit to her studio via her website, or you can catch her on 2nd December at Mill Road Winter Fair – where she will be hosting a pop-up stall at the Makers Gallery in Hope Street Yard.

 

bbruun 5

Opal cuff, by Birgitte Bruun.

 

Agnes Asselin uses textiles to create pictures as well as jewellery and other accessories. These are colourful pieces and mostly African inspired, with designs including people and a range of animals. Last year I visited her studio and bought the giraffe in the photo below – I think he’s going to need a friend at some point so will no doubt be paying another visit to the studio soon. Agnes will be opening her studio (just a three-minute walk from Mill Road) on 2nd December for Mill Road Winter Fair.

 

agnesa 1

Giraffe by Agnes Asselin.

 

Sarah Went makes beautiful ceramics. I’m yet to visit her studio myself, but her designs look like they are just what I want in my kitchen. I bought a handmade ceramic butter dish – which I adore – at an independent craft fair a couple of years ago, but having seen pictures of Sarah’s I have now decided that you can never have too many butter dishes… If you too would like to see some of Sarah’s ceramics, she will be opening her studio as part of Mill Road Winter Fair.

There are Christmas Open Studios events on throughout December, with Birgitte, Agnes and Sarah all displaying their work on 2nd December (at the Mill Road Winter Fair and nearby studios) as well as many other local artists and creators whose designs are well worth a look during the month; and if you can’t quite find what you’re looking for, it’s worth noting that most artists will take commissions. If Mr Mill Road happens upon this blog post then he could well save himself a lot of time and stress when it comes to choosing Christmas presents. ūüėČ

 

Music scene must be heard!

The Man On The MoonI had originally intended to write this blog article a few months ago and for it to be about our music venues in this part of the City. I was going to lament that although the Boat Race is now long gone and Anglia Ruskin University no longer has a weekly line-up of gigs open to the public, at least we still have the Man On The Moon as a last remaining dedicated medium-sized gig venue. However, it was announced a couple of months ago the the Man On The Moon would be closing at the start of October, and even after protests it sadly did close at the start of this month.

Landlord¬†John and his family moved from the White Hart pub (which became the Back Street Bistro restaurant) on Sturton Street¬†in 2000 to take over at the Man On The Moon, and over the¬†next thirteen years the pub¬†became well known both locally and further afield for its music.¬†They’ve hosted some big names over the years – including Therapy? and Wendy James from Transvision Vamp – as well as regular music nights across all genres including hip-hop, soul and rockabilly and even lindy hop dancing.

The Man On The Moon has now been taken over by new leaseholders and a new landlord has also been chosen. Although they are keen to open the¬†pub again soon,¬†I am not yet sure when this will be¬†(the new landlord has also¬†already taken on another local pub – The Royal Standard, on Mill Road). Following on from its closure there had been a peaceful protest in the form of a community cafe¬†at the Man On The Moon,¬†but that came to an end last week. However, the previous ‘Moon team are still booking gigs at other venues and are planning for the future, so if you want to get in touch with them you can contact them via the details on their website.

Man On The Moon

Since we’re on the subject of losing music venues, it seems only right that I mention the¬†Boat Race on East Road – which I’m sure many of you will remember. It was¬†a dedicated gig venue that had music seven days a week and was known for hosting up and coming talent – the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Placebo, Oasis¬†and¬†Groove Armada¬†all played there before making it ‘big’ – including local bands and artists¬†such Right Turn Clyde, Ezio¬†and The Broken Family Band.¬†The Boat Race closed almost ten years ago – much to the dismay of local music lovers – and although there¬†were campaigns to save it¬†(and¬†bring it back ) it was sold and eventually became The Snug.

Man On The MoonOf course the Portland Arms (and¬†in recent times also¬†the Cornerhouse) put on some great gigs and are well known locally for hosting up and coming bands like Beverley Kills and favourites such as Editors, Akira The Don, Carter USM and Ellie Goulding – but it’s on the other side of town; and besides, a City with a population in excess of 120,000 surely deserves more than one dedicated¬† medium-sized venue, doesn’t it…? The last year has thankfully seen an increase in gigs happening on and around Mill Road and a number of the local pubs and cafes now have regular music nights. However, the last remaining dedicated medium sized gig venue in this part of the City¬†was the Man On The Moon.

Given the current lack of local music venue and the need for action to make sure our music scene doesn’t suffer any further, there will be a special meeting TONIGHT to talk about making¬†things happen!

The ‘Campaign for a Music Venue’ open meeting will take place at The Hopbine (sister pub to the Portland Arms) from 7:30pm. It’s a public meeting and all are welcome, so if you support the idea of creating/developing a dedicated music venue, you have some ideas on how it could work or you just want to find out more,¬†then make sure you go along tonight.

‘Campaign for a Music Venue’ open meeting – 7:30pm, Tuesday 15th October
The Hopbine, 11-12 Fair Street CB1 3HA

Calling all artists…

Art 4Those of you who tuned in to me guest-presenting the ‘Our Mill Road‘ show on Cambridge 105¬†earlier this month¬†will have heard me mention an exciting new¬†community art project that’s being organised by¬†Ceri Littlechild…

There are hoardings outside a currently vacant piece of land on Mill Road Рnear the Spar shop at No.301 Рand although the land is already earmarked for development and the hoardings will be removed at some point, they could be improved in the mean time and made to look nicer. Ceri has been in touch with the current landowners and spoken to them about the possibility of running an art project to decorate the hoardings. They have agreed in principle though have asked for potential designs for the hoardings to be submitted, before final approval. The group is also waiting to hear if they will be able to use the other nearby hoardings which are owned by the Mosque Project.

Mill Road hoardings

Seven lead artists are needed for the project, with each working on between five and ten of the hoardings. The work of each lead artist would involve:

  • Identifying a local community group to engage in the design process (ASAP). This should preferably reach out to a diverse range of people, including local school children, minority groups, the disabled, elderly, or those with a local interest or connection.¬†Applicants must have the appropriate certification to be able to work with children or the vulnerable.
  • Arranging one or two (as appropriate) half day workshops with that community group to sketch out 2 or 3 designs for¬†the relevant¬†section of the hoardings (October/November 2013)
  • Once the designs have been submitted and a final one picked by the owners,¬†the lead artists¬†will be responsible for conducting the installation of the art work. This part should be carried out by professional artists only, rather than involve the community group, unless¬†lead artists¬†have the required insurances.¬†Lead artists¬†may want to recruit additional volunteer artists to help (December 2013 or January 2014).
  • It is expected that the total time commitment would be 1-2 days arranging workshops, another 1-2 days carrying out the workshops and up to five days for the art work installation (depending on the medium used and any additional voluntary help).

It is hoped that there may be the possibility of getting some funding¬†or a grant to run¬†the project, so that lead artists can be paid for their time and materials,¬†though this isn’t yet¬†guaranteed.

Art 2Mill Road is a multicultural and diverse community and the art work on the hoardings should celebrate that and not cause offence to any particular group. People can use a variety of cultural references for inspiration. The work can be in any medium (i.e. print, post-up or paint), but the installation is subject to final agreement and permission from the land owner Рand no painting should take place until that permission is granted. Although a date for removal of the hoardings has not yet been given, they could potentially be removed as early as June 2014 Рso there is a need to begin the project soon and work on it over the winter.

This is a great opportunity to get involved in a local project and see your artwork adorning Mill Road! If you’d like to apply then please email Ceri with your name,¬†contact details and your relevant experience/CV by 5th October: millroadcoordinator@gmail.com.

Blog birthday giveaway!

There's something about Mill Road...I’m not quite sure where the time has gone, but¬†it’s now¬†been over¬†a year since¬†‘There’s something about Mill Road’ entered the blogosphere!¬†It¬†started as a hobby that I hoped a few people might read from time to time, but I have been – and continue to be – amazed¬†by just how much interest there has been in my ramblings, not just from the Mill Road area itself¬†and Cambridge, but¬†across the UK and even beyond.

My first post¬†was about, erm, chocolate; and since then I’ve written about all sorts of Mill Road related things – from events, books¬†and recipes¬†to community projects, photography and the particularly popular topic of our local pubs. Thank you so much to everyone who has read any of my posts, been following me on Twitter¬†or who keeps up to date via¬†my Facebook page – there wouldn’t be much point without you! As a thank you to all you lovely people I¬†wanted to offer¬†the chance to win a lovely Mill Road prize, so I’ve decided to do a special giveaway. Those of you who have been following the blog may have noticed my penchant for pubs, food and art, so I thought what better than a prize¬†combining all three…

Earl of BeaconsfieldSince the Earl of Beaconsfield changed hands last year, the pub has been transformed into the place to be for music, with weekly events including the Monday night Open Mic sessions and regular Saturday night gigs – tomorrow you can catch the Watertight Jazz group and on 17th August following on from the Great Eastern Street Party, you can catch The Great Eastern Street Preachers. They have successfully carried on the tradition of serving the best pint of Guinness in Cambridge (which you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve tested and personally verified, all in the name of research…!)¬†and also now do sumptuous stone-baked pizzas. Susie & Matt at the Beaconsfield have very kindly offered ¬£30 of vouchers for the giveaway!

FrameworksFrameworks have been catering to the picture framing needs of Cambridge artists and art lovers for over twenty years and moved to their Mill Road home back in 2011, but what may be less well known is that they offer free mountboard to local school and charity groups. I love that every two weeks there’s a new exhibition to look at in their window – one of my favourites has been food artist Jimi Kazak – and during the Romsey Art Festival (which runs until 17th August) you can see the work of local artist Sarah Blake. The lovely chaps at Frameworks have offered a ¬£20 voucher for the giveaway!

ONE LUCKY PERSON WILL WIN:
2 x £10 vouchers for the Earl of Beaconsfield, each voucher entitling the recipient to one of their delicious stone-baked pizzas plus a pint/glass of wine/soft drink AND
1 x £20 voucher for Frameworks, for the recipient to spend at their picture framing shop on Mill Road.

THERE WILL ALSO BE A RUNNER-UP PRIZE OF:
РA £10 voucher for the Earl of Beaconsfield, entitling the recipient to a stone-baked pizza and drink.

To be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is one of the following:
1. Subscribe to this blog (which means you’ll be the first to hear about new blog posts, as you’ll receive a notification email) before the closing date, by entering your email address in the ‘Follow this blog’ section, near the top right of the home page. To let me know that you want¬†this¬†to count as your entry into the competition (or if you’re already following the blog)¬†please add a comment at the bottom of this blog post (or instead of a comment you can send an email to theressomethingaboutmillroad@hotmail.co.uk) by¬†the closing date.
OR
2. Follow me on Twitter and retweet any of my Twitter posts marked #MillRoadGiveaway Рonly applies to posts on/before 21st August (you can retweet more than one post if you like, but it will only count as one entry for the draw).
OR
3. If you want to double your chances you can do both of the above! ūüôā

So if you’ve acquired some art at the Romsey Art Festival and need to get it framed, or you’re looking for the perfect excuse to pop to the pub – why not enter the giveaway. Good luck! ūüôā

Rules: This giveaway is open to UK residents only and the winners will be independently drawn at random from all those who have completed step 1, 2 or 3 above by the closing date. Entry is free. Automated entries not accepted. The closing date is Wednesday 21st August at 11:59pm. The draw will take place within seven days of the closing date. When notified of their win, the prize winners will need to provide a UK postal address for their prizes to be sent to. In the event of being unable to contact the winner/s within fourteen days of the draw, another winner/s will be drawn. By entering the draw, entrants agree that in the event of them winning the competition their name and city/town can be published on this blog (and associated accounts on Twitter and Facebook).

Romsey Art Festival

Romsey Art Festival posterThe first ever Romsey Art Festival starts on Saturday and will run until 17th August. The idea for the festival was developed by a group of artists at Cambridge Art Salon last year and over the last few months they have been busy organising and co-ordinating a whole host of events to run across the fortnight Рincluding art activities, exhibitions and a market, as well as poetry, film screenings, music, workshops and talks.

Art Market PosterThis Saturday looks set to be the main day of activity, with events taking place throughout Romsey and along Mill Road. There will be an Arts¬†& Crafts Market¬†organised by LittleBiggs – local artists Ceri Ann Littlechild and Dan Biggs – featuring jewellery, ceramics and¬†various art works for sale,¬†as well as portrait artists on hand on the day¬†and also a live mural painting which everyone can join in. The market runs from 10am¬†until 3pm at Hope Street Yard and there will also be food stalls there¬†courtesy of local¬†ice cream extraordinaire Jacks Gelato and burger experts Steak & Honour. A little further down Mill Road you can find Cambridge Cinema Shorts presenting films at Romsey Labour Club, including a children’s screening¬†at 11am¬†and a 15+ screening at 2pm. There’s also a Bento Workshop at the Junction from 12-3pm¬†and a¬†Creative Writing Workshop run by Patrick Widdess at the Bath House on Gwydir Street from 2-5pm; and if you missed the recent Cambridge Open Studios exhibitions then you can catch artists Susie Olczak & Harry Gray hosting their own open studios at 53a St Philips Road from 10am-5pm.

Shindig closing partyDr Doodleys Drink & Draw is a fortnightly meet up for local artists which started last year, and on 6th August¬†Sa’adiah Khan will be hosting their next event – ‘Collabradoodle’ will¬†look at challenging ideas of control and restraint in art and is at Hot Numbers from 7-9pm. The¬†Cambridge Map Project¬†will also be hosting various events (see the festival blog for more info and a full list of events) and if you’re planning to head down to the festival then do keep an eye out for new art works popping up around you – the event organisers were recently looking for residents and groups to donate the walls of their buildings for art. Rounding off proceeedings¬†on 17th August will be a special closing party, hosted by Shindig. If you haven’t heard of Shindig before it’s a collaboration of alternative music, arts and entertainment and they host regular nights across Cambridge, including¬†Mill Road. The closing party will be held at St Philip’s Church on the corner of Thoday Street, 8-11pm.

It looks like there’ll be plenty going on and lots of new things to try – I¬†love Japanese food and¬†really want¬†to go along to the Bento Workshop, but it’s on at the same time as the Creative Writing Workshop, and the Art & Craft Market… decisions, decisions!

Cambridge Open Studios 2013

Saturday saw the opening of the 2013 Cambridge Open Studios – an annual exhibition where¬†local artists¬†open up their studios and homes to the public across four weekends in July. It’s a great opportunity to find out more about the artists and see where they work, as well as enjoy¬†what is probably the¬†largest art exhibition in Cambridge (albeit at a range of venues)¬†– there are over 269 artists taking part this year!

Jersey CowThe roots of Cambridge Open Studios go back to the 1960’s and this year’s exhibitors include sculptors, potters, ceramicists, silversmiths, furniture makers and printers – as well as those working with more traditional media – so there should be something for everyone. I usually take the opportunity to go and see work locally when the exhibition is on and this year there are over twenty exhibitors on and around Mill Road alone – including animal sculptor JJ Vincent,¬†jewellery designer Lindsay Duff and painters Sheila Farrant¬†and Tim O’Brien. This year I’ll also be¬†taking a trip out to some of the ones further afield – if you haven’t seen Georgia Record‘s artwork yet then I highly recommend a viewing. Her work is mainly oil painting on canvas, stick-and-ink drawings and photography and she’s one of the most exciting young artists whose work¬†I’ve seen!

You can search for exhibitors by name, location, media type or even on a map. You don’t need to book and it’s free, so if you want¬†to get to know your neighbours better why not drop in to some of the exhibitions near you!

Summer Event & Carnival this weekend!

The Petersfield Area Community Trust (PACT)¬†are holding their Summer Event this Saturday¬†on Norfolk Street, starting at midday and running through until 5pm. There’s lots to see and do on the day, including live music,¬†street art and exhibitions, cheerleading, belly dancing, sports, facepainting, a treasure hunt and a Carnival Parade.

PACT Summer Event 2013 poster 2

There will be a charity auction, where you can bid for the chance to win¬†a days motorbike training, a Dell computer, a¬†year’s free swimming¬†or even a gallon of ale; and also a tombola, with prizes including meals for two, event tickets and a full body Swedish massage! All the prizes have been donated by local businesses, including¬†The Dobblers¬†and Kymmoy as well as Mill Road’s¬†Nutters Hair Salon and Tulip Restaurant (more information and a full list of prizes¬†can be found¬†on the PACT website). There will also be various workshops throughout the day, including a hula hooping workshop led by Siana – winner of Petersfield’s Got Talent 2012 and Bling Ya Ting 2013 – and a session run by Cambridge Community Circus.¬†For the¬†full line up of events, performances, workshops and activities, please see the PACT website.

The PACT Team are still keen to hear from anyone who can help out on Saturday Рwhether setting up, stewarding during the day or helping clear up afterwards. If you can spare a couple of hours on Saturday, please email pactcambridge@bigfoot.com. Whether you fancy your chances in the silent auction, want to see some local art, try your hand at hula-hooping or enjoy some live jazz, the PACT/Norfolk Street Summer Event looks like it will have something for everyone!