True Tales for Change – A Project for a Fairer Future

One of our artists, Sa’adiah Khan at Thrifts Walk Studios, is taking part in True Tales for Change – A Project for a Fairer Future, an art project about inequality in Cambridge.

The exhibition will be hosted at The Escape Room in the Grafton Centre from January 11th–13th (12-5pm), with storytelling workshopsleading up to it.

There will be limited space for the launch event on January 11th, so please book your spot via:


Family Arts Fundraising Seminar

The Art Salon is co-ordinating a Family Arts Fundraising Seminar, as part of the Cambridge Art Salon’s community engagement (the Art Salon Foundation), on March 1st, at Kettle’s Yard – all artists at the spaces with an interest in family arts and fundraising are welcome to come.

There are a growing list of speakers talking on fundraising tools and models, sharing good practice on ways to fundraise, plus a chance for organisations and artists to explore collaborative approaches to fundraising. Karen Jinks, founding member and Jane Swadling Chair of Children’s Charity Week, will be talking on ways that all organisations and artists working with children in Cambridge, could benefit from their appeal.

The seminar is supported by national campaign body Family Arts Campaign and Arts and Philanthropy. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Please register interest in your place by emailing

Pearls of Wisdom Social Club – SUBJECT, Anthony Gormley, Kettle’s Yard

EDGE - Cambridge Art Salon

‘A lot of the work is to do with wanting to find a balanced relationship between what you could call the vicissitudes of the changing nature of our moods and our motivations – the “What am I doing?” “Am in charge?” “Is this my life?”

Anthony Gormley is talking to us about his current solo show at Kettle’s Yard, SUBJECT, the focus of our next Pearls of Wisdom Social Club. Running until the 27th August, the exhibition explores our relationship to space and our sense of self, plus asks who and what art is for.

‘Sculpture’, he says, ‘once you bolt it to the wall, can give you a little place, a little ledge, that is solid, where you can register your changing moods about everything. Having a place that is connected, but separate. Like this space, the gallery. Sculpture is like that, galleries are like that. A place apart.’

‘It’s like a meteorite in human form, he says, of EDGE, an iron sculpture which really caught our eye, which you can see in Gallery 2. ‘Iron is very dense. Its magnetic field is what allows us to spin. It’s a concentrated earth material – it has a fundamental relationship with the body that our bodies depend upon, which is the planet.’


EDGE was a hit at the Pearls of Wisdom Social Club itself, with visitors from Cambridge Manor Care Home and the fabulous Turtle Dove team, all exploring reactions to works and the exhibition. After a quick talk from Karen Thomas, we headed into the galleries to enjoy the show – and explore how the works made us feel. ‘It makes me want to swing from it like a monkey!’ said, Kate, of Turtle Dove.


Infinite Cube II, on show in the UK for the first time, made of a one-way mirror glass and 1000 LED lights, was very popular. ‘It’s like every time you look at it, there’s so much going on in such a confined space, says Fran. ‘It’s dazzling’, Margaret from Cambridge Manor tells us. ‘I liked the lights, they made me think of the Northern Lights’. Gormley himself advises peering up at it from the floor, where the view is apparently ‘endless’!

Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice cuppa back in the Learning Studio and met up with artist Jo Miller, experimenting with clay, to play with our own sense of space and proportion – with some fabulous results.

We shared what art is for and celebrated our own voices, on this sometimes mysterious subject. How walking around the show, it’s you, your perceptions, that bring it to life.

Interview with Anthony Gormley, Fran Smith and Ruthie Collins. Photos – Fran Smith.

Pearls of Wisdom Social Club returns to Kettle’s Yard in September.

Strawberry Fair

We are looking forward to bringing our Art Salon Cafe to the Arts Area at Strawberry Fair. Come along and have a mocktail with us, or a strawberry tea! We have vegan brownies, flapjacks, cakes and vegan tartlets – all lovingly prepared by volunteers and served up by a team of sparkling mermaids – proceeds supporting our work in the community. We have a new illuminated Art Salon sign made by Dan Biggs, plus an Eco Glitter Colour Bath for you to get bathed in colour and glitter. There’s an acoustic jam 12-1pm, facepainting during Kids Disco Hour (1-2pm) – fancy dress welcome, heroes is this year’s theme for the fair! – with DJ Glitterbeardyman, plus the chance to catch the Soapbox Scientists outside for Women In Science Happy Hours – 2pm-5pm, plus we have a call out for tapes to play on our ghettoblaster for Tape Hour (5pm – 6pm) – dig out your tapes.

We also have recyclable Art Graffiti Cups, plus live art from Sadi Soul Arts!

The Arts Area is next to the Kids’ Park and the nearest buildings to us are the houses on North Terrace. We’re in front of them. Look at the link to find your way:,+Cambridge/@52.2094334,0.1299282,18z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x47d8709252a1f8d9:0xbe261870ee357338

The Eastern Bloco Arts Area is a loose afilliation of activist artists, who through a wide range of mediums, from film, found objects, textiles, painting, site specific, spoken word and combinations of all of the above, highlight and raise awareness of issues surrounding them.

Pearls of Wisdom Social Club

This is the last week of Actions. The image of the world can be different (part II) which closes on May 7th, featuring works such as Caroline Walker’s solo project of portraits of women refugees in London, ‘Home’.

So for our last Pearls of Wisdom Social Club we explored ideas of ‘home’, with Turtle Dove and Manor Care Home hearing a fascinating talk from Kettle’s Yard archivist Freda Midgley on the curated homes of Jim and Helen Ede. We also watched a short clip from documentary by Cary Parker, ‘The Secret of Kettle’s Yard’, before visiting the Kettle’s Yard House itself, looking for objects with stories.

The documentary touched on how with the secrets held in the house, you can learn more about through asking the staff there – there’s a real oral tradition of anecdotes connected to the pieces, passed down through over the years. Like this piece, we discovered was made by Jim Ede’s granddaughter, which you can find behind in the bathroom of the house.

Andrew and Audrey from Manor care home absolutely loved their visit to the house.

We finished off with tea and cake with Turtle Dove and making home inspired ‘pearls’,  asking what makes a home? Home is made by ‘the people’ in it. The smell of freshly made coffee and warm bread. A nice cup of tea. Somewhere that’s been worn in, a place that feels like it has character without anyone there…

This week, our new photographer for Pearls of Wisdom Social Club and myself also popped in to see Caroline Walker’s ‘Home’, project.

We loved reading the interviews with the women and learning more about their stories which really bring the paintings to life. The stories can be found in plenty of easy to read folders, in Gallery 2.

We also caught John Akomfrah’s award winning film ‘Auto Da Fé’ (‘Act of Faith’), capturing the re-enacted journeys of asylum seekers from throughout history – from multiple faiths.

‘It makes you realise how lucky you are, how much you have’.

Actions. the image of the world can be different (part II) runs until May 7th. You can see the next show at Kettle’s Yard, Antony Gormley’s ‘SUBJECT’, as part of Pearls of Wisdom Social Club on Tuesday May 29th, 2pm-3.30pm.

Our home inspired ‘pearls’ are being turned into bunting that will decorate our pop up Art Salon Cafe in the Arts Area of Strawberry Fair, on June 2nd.

Words and images: @RuthieCollins @CambArtSalon

Children at The Grove Primary School Win High Sheriff Award for Pearls of Wisdom Postcards

Pearls of WisdomOver fifty eight and nine year old children at The Grove Primary School have won the High Sheriff Award, as administered by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, for participating in a project that aims to bring together old and young residents in the city through art run by Care Network Cambridge and Cambridge Art Salon.

As part of Pearls of Wisdom Postcards, elderly residents in Cambridge from Cambridge Manor Carehome and St Martins Day Centre generously contributed their own pearls of wisdom, to children at The Grove Primary School – little nuggets of wisdom, for the younger generation, such as ‘Don’t Waste Time’, ‘Save For A Rainy Day’, or ‘Kindness Costs Nothing’. The school children then created artworks in response to the pearls, with help from artists at Cambridge Art Salon, for an exhibition and pack of postcards that the public can see and buy at Stir Cafe, throughout from December 1stuntil January 11th.

100 packs of cards of 8 of the children’s designs are available for sale for £2 each at the popular CB4 based Stir cafe – with a #pearlchallenge to send postcards to family members and loved ones, to celebrate family and friendship. Participants are invited to buy postcards and post on social media their messages to friends and family, as part of the challenge.

Participating artists based at North Cambridge art space Thrifts Walk Studios and East Cambridge’s UNIT 13, include Sa’adiah Khan, Daisy Tempest, Sukey Sleeper and Cathy Dunbar. The project was produced by writer Ruthie Collins who interviewed older residents for their pearls, with help from Cambridge Art Salon volunteer Victor Ibanez, Care Network Cambs and staff at Manor Care Home and St Martins Day Centre.

Call for artists and makers

Cambridge Art Salon currently has three new workspaces coming up for artists from different backgrounds to share with a painter and illustrator. Please get in touch to express interest. We’re particularly keen to support those who support our ethos of equal access to art in the community. To apply, please email

‘I found the advice and support from the entire team at the Cambridge Art Salon really invaluable.’
Jo Randall, photographer

CONSUMIRRORISM – Reflections on Recession #consumirrorism

Glyn Bateman
CONSUMIRRORISM – Reflections on Recession 
16.12.16 – 19.12.16

Friday 16th December 6 – 9pm
Saturday 17th – Monday 19th December 10am – 5pm
(Limited Private viewings from 20th December)

CONSUMIRRORISM presents a selection of works that were developed during the time of the global economic downturn of 2008 – a shift from the consumer empowering, excessive commodity culture of capitalist boom time to the mirror opposite starkness of gloomy financial uncertainty, diminished consumer confidence and tightened up purse strings. In 2016, how much has changed? The works on display reflect upon the state of our world, providing commentary upon the autonomous rich, the suffering many and questions how art will fare in times of austerity.


SPAN Artist Collective

SPAN Artist Collective: Sophie C Hill, Guiseppina Santoro-Ellwood, Adriana Forte, Neil Horsefield

2 December 2016 – 11 December 2016
Cambridge Art Salon, 1 Thrift Walk, Cambridge, CB2

Showcasing paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculpture and video by four artists working individually and then coming together to respond to each others’ work with in the gallery.

The show brings together individual work from the four artists and provides an opportunity for them to interact and respond live to the exhibited work. The artists will experiment in the space to create visual reactions to each others work in an effort to exchange ideas, deepen understanding and further possible meaning and interpretations. This will create a dynamic and changing show which the audience can enter; their own experience will depend on the daily activity, with both the art and artists on show. You will see videos, paintings, installations and photographs from four different perspectives that will encourage you to think and question the ideas and artists. You will be simultaneously in a gallery and a studio.

Sophie C Hill works with a range of materials to produce paintings and installations that ask questions about her experience as a mother and artist. Visually eclectic and playful her work should make you smile while you think.

Pina Santoro creates works using varied materials such as ceramics, plaster and paint to found objects. Her practice is concerned with culture, identity, traditions and place and displacement aiming to capture the confusion, frustration and stress of her UK born Immigrant experiences.

Adriana Forte is a conceptual artist who explores difficult and often unspoken issues around mental health and identity. She creates through a process of immersion in research; an idea is born from extensive reading and the work develops through trial and error. Language forms an important part of her work although its usage can be quite discrete.

Neil Horsefield has an easel based studio practice which uses visual language conventions associated with painting, drawing and printmaking. His work raises a reconsideration of authorship, ownership, creative territory, value, permanence and transition and narrative.

digital image from Fun Palace workshop, SPAN, 2016

digital image from Fun Palace workshop, SPAN, 2016

The Pear Tree and other poems


Art Salon Christmas Fair!

christmas-art-fair-16We are delighted to invite you to our Art Salon Christmas Fair, showing you a range of presents, gifts and wares from artists, designer-makers and illustrators working in UNIT 13 and 1 Thrifts Walk.

UNIT 13 is an artist run warehouse studio in East Cambridge, home to 18 artists, designer-makers, illustrators and creative businesses. Thrifts Walk is home to 6 artists, a gallery and office. Both spaces help us make the arts accessible to the community. This year, Thrifts Walk’s artists have helped launch a new cross-arts initiative in London, place art installations at Cambridge Folk Festival, plus launch the Chesterton mural, work on TV and film sets all over the UK, take commissions, run classes for the community. UNIT 13 has seen its artists become shortlisted for national awards, publish books, give talks – as well as support community and emerging artists in the city with their vital work.

Families welcome, children can take part in a free art activity – festive spirit art prize draw! Open to all ages, create your own festive spirit art piece for the chance to win a festive prize.

So pop down to enjoy the work and pick up a pressie!

Beating the Bounds – New works by Gudrun Filipska

1 Thrifts Walk. Cambridge.

21st October -4th November 2016 (Family friendly Private View 5.30-8.30pm Fri Nov 21st).


An exhibition of work from the first stages of an ‘Artists Residency in Motherhood’, as mentored by British American artist Lenka Clayton. Filipska takes the experience of motherhood as a raw material, using as departure point her long standing interest in walking as artistic practice and fugal subjectivity and how this is altered by the presence of children. The show includes work documenting her daughters obsession with wrapping and enveloping found and foraged objects, the first part of a photographic project documenting daily walks, a video work reflecting the tedium and staccato rhythms of a walking pace set by children and a series of drawings referencing historical landscape painting.

This exhibition forms the first part of the Beating the Bounds project which will take place during the two year residency and further develop ideas of territory, boundaries, transience and motherhood. It’s also part of the BBC get Creative Family Arts Festival, happening throughout October – and Cambridge Art Salon’s We Are Family programme

Accompanying text, ‘Against the Odds: Creative Survival Throughout Parenthood’ by writer/curator Ruthie Collins will also be available at the exhibition, partnered with national campaign body Family Arts Campaign. Advice, personal experiences and strategies shared by parent artists have been turned into a poster style text, the first of a new ongoing series of #mamainart (MIA) pieces @ruthiecollins