This image: the yarnbomb on Jesus Green
Ruthie Collins gives you the lowdown on arty happenings around Cambridge in November
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” Albert Camus once said. Looking at Cambridge at this time of year, we know exactly what he meant. The city is blazing with beauty, full of colour – like a vibrant painting – soon to be replaced with shivering trees and all the sparkling delight of Christmas. But in the last of the dazzling autumn light, you can see why the founder of Kettle’s Yard, Jim Ede once called Cambridge a ‘golden city’. If you haven’t already visited the COLOUR exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, then make this the month – just go!
Kettle’s Yard was gifted to Cambridge University by Jim Ede 50 years ago this month. To celebrate, explore Kettle’s Yard In New Places and Spaces, which features over 30 artists in ten venues including Heong Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum. A passionate believer in art being enjoyed as part of the everyday, Jim Ede once inspired me to transform an entire Romsey Town terrace house into an art intervention (celebrating revolutions). Go along and see what Kettle’s Yard, his gift to the city, may inspire you to do. Check out Reimagining the City at Wolfson College, for artist interpretations of the city spanning several decades, featuring work by British artists Christopher Wood and Ben Nicholson as well as French-born artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.
“Catch a glimpse of Kettle’s Yard’s extensive collection of abstract painting“
Or on 5 November from 11am to 4pm catch Dapple at Arbury Community Centre, a one-day installation created by artist Lucy Steggals, children from Grove Primary School and residents of North Cambridge, inspired by Apples and Pears, works by Ben Nicholson in the Kettle’s Yard Collection, plus fairy tales and folklore. Did you know there is an underwater orchard under the Cam, where ‘dapples’ grow?
There’s also the chance to catch a glimpse of Kettle’s Yard’s extensive collection of abstract painting, collages and prints that date from the 1960s to the 1980s at In Search of New Forms at Cambridge University Library (such an amazing place). It’s thrilling to get the chance to see work by Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), whose piece is the latest dated in the show. One of the defining artists of American Abstract Expressionism, influenced by Jackson Pollock and Hans Hoffman, she was one of the most recognised artists from this era, having had a retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1989. A real treat.
Plus Mill Road lovers will be delighted to know there’s a new opening this month in Romsey Town in the shape of The Edge Café, which aims to give survivors of substance abuse a nourishing place to gain new skills and recover, doubling as an art space as well as a café. The idea is to blur the distinction between ‘service users’ and the public, with an exciting programme of events planned – from temporary tattoo nights, to screenings, performance nights and other events. Please keep checking theedgecafecambridge.org for updates – and also to get involved. “It’s a blank canvas at the moment – which is both daunting and exciting,” says a spokesperson for the café.
For many artists this is their busiest time of year, selling commissions, cards, stalls and Christmas stock. Giving an artist’s work is one of the biggest compliments you can pay them – a brilliant way to help sustain our city’s vibrant cultural scene. So head on down to Histon Handmade Christmas between midday and 8pm on 26 November at St Andrews Centre in Histon, which showcases 15 talented designer makers in the city, including the magical work of Abi Cochran and hand-pulled prints from force of nature Jo Tunmer.
That same weekend also watch out for a Christmas Market at Cambridge Art Salon’s Chesterton art space at 1 Thrifts Walk, with a special opening party on the evening of Friday 25 November – find books, prints and cards from award-winning children’s author-illustrators, plus glass, floristry, jewellery, ceramics and more. Workshops and family-friendly activities are planned throughout the weekend of 26 and 27 November from 10am to 5.30pm. Check www.cambridgeartsalon.org.uk for details.
Finally, those hunting for gifts for lovers of all things crafty, check out a series of gorgeous brooches created out of the Rhapsody in Bloom yarnbomb, a large scale, stunning installation that appeared behind beds of wildflowers on Jesus Green. The blue yarn flowers in this dazzling collaborative piece are being made into brooches and sold to raise awareness for the one in five women that are sexually assaulted or raped in the UK every year. They will be on sale at special events by Cambridge Rape Crisis centre – check www.cambridgerapecrisis.org.uk or #flowerpoweryarnbomb for details. “The project started because I wanted to give my customers a big project to work on together,” says Sarah Clark, owner of Cambridge wool shop, The Sheep Shop. “We wanted to make an artwork that thousands of people would enjoy.” Have a great November, all.