Clockwise from left Clare Maria Wood, Lesley Birch and Karen Stamper.
A long-distance art project between three friends is to go on show in a Cambridge café
Three award-winning artists who all taught at The Perse School over a decade ago are returning to their beginnings to exhibit in Cambridge. Lesley Birch from Glasgow, Clare Maria Wood from Whitby and Karen Stamper from Hull met in Cambridge in 2001 whilst working as teachers at The Perse School on Hills Road.
“We became great friends, painting and drawing together late into the night in my kitchen, listening to David Bowie,” says Lesley. “We mixed words and art, inspiring each other.”
When Lesley left the school and moved to Yorkshire, she received a parcel in the post. “It was a piece of wood with a map collaged on the front and a few splashes of colourful paint. A note from Karen said: ‘Respond and send on to Clare’.”
“So I did,” says Lesley. “I laughed to myself and called it The Cambridge 3 Postal Project.”
Clare Maria Wood, former Head of Art at The Perse School, still lives in Cambridge and now concentrates on painting and printmaking inspired by walks around the beech woods near her home. “The Postal Project was a fun way of keeping in touch and we really bounced off each other’s visual ideas,” she says. “The thing just kept going over years.”
Karen Stamper went on to become Head of Art at Linton Village College, and now devotes her time to creating vibrant collage paintings inspired by docklands and urban shorelines. “The Cambridge 3 name just stuck,” she says, “and we’ve been collaborating ever since.”
Clare Maria Wood
The three artists were awarded an art residency together in Cape Cornwall which led to a successful exhibition in St Ives in 2017. Now Beginnings takes them back to their Cambridge roots, and will include each artist’s individual work, as well as those that they have created together – via the postal system!
“We shall be displaying our latest postal project pieces and lots more,” says Karen. “We’re really excited to be showing our art together in our ‘home’ town.”
See the Beginnings show from 2 to 30 June at The Locker Café, King Street, Cambridge, Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Private view on 1 June, 6 to 8pm, tickets available from thecambridge3.com