AFTER the Covid-enforced fallow year of 2020, York Open Studios returns this weekend for its 20th parade of the city’s creative talent.
Preceded by Friday’s preview evening, the event will see 145 artists and makers open 95 studios, homes and workplaces on July 10 and 11 and July 17 and 18, from 10am to 5pm.
Among them will be 43 debutants, prompting CharlesHutchPress to highlight six newcomers a day over the week ahead, in map guide order, as York prepares for a showcase of ceramic, collage, digital art, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, furniture, sculpture and textiles skills this month.
Caroline Utterson, textiles, Southbank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, 97 Bishopthorpe Road, York
CAROLINE combines her two great loves, photography and fabric, in creating one-off embroidered, appliquéd and felted artworks influenced as much by her imagination as by the landscape around her.
After graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University with a degree in textiles, she worked for North Yorkshire Police for eight years before travelling to Thailand to teach English.
On her return, using the tools she had to hand, Caroline taught herself freehand machine embroidery, a craft she likens to drawing with a sewing machine.
“I’m greatly inspired by animals, nature, my northern roots and my love of travel and photography,” she says. “Forever taking photos of anything that catches my eye, I then convert my pictures into textile artworks, using fabrics, buttons, beads and bits that I have collected over the years. The environment is important to me, so I use many recycled and vintage fabrics in my work.
“Having worked as a seamstress for four years, I collected and saved hoards of fabric from going into landfill and I love nothing more than breathing new life into these discarded ‘scraps’.”
Caroline launched her It’s Cute textile shop in September 2013. “The name was coined as a result of a happy acronym of my name and what I do: Caroline Utterson Textiles and Embroidery,” she says.
Rebecca Mason, textiles, Southbank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, 97 Bishopthorpe Road, York
REBECCA specialises in batik, a dye-resist technique using wax that she utilises to make silk scarves, ties, brooches, framed pictures, cards and wall hangings, applying both traditional Indonesian and modern methods.
She first became inspired by batik more than 30 years ago in Malaysia. Subsequently she attended batik workshops and evening classes to learn the techniques.
“I love to be creative with colour and the freedom of abstract designs, and I particularly enjoy the fluidity, flexibility, unpredictability and crackle effect of the wax,” says Rebecca, who is influenced and inspired by the shapes and hues of the Yorkshire countryside and the changing seasons.
She specialises in doing batik on cotton and silk, including velour. “My ties and scarves are each uniquely designed, and my cotton pictures are varied in theme and use a range of batik techniques.”
Rebecca will be one of seven artists taking part in York Open Studios at Southbank Methodist Church, along with Nicola Lee, Caroline Utterson, Colin Black, Donna Maria Taylor, Carolyn Coles and Karen Winship. Between them, they specialise in batik, seascapes, landscapes, paintings, textiles, mixed media, collage, work on paper, acrylics and embroidery.
Should you be wondering, the word ‘batik’ originates from the Javanese ‘tik’ and means ‘to dot’. To make a batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original colour.
Henry Steele, ceramics, Millthorpe School, Nunthorpe Avenue, York
A DIAGNOSIS of autism gives Henry an unusual vision of the world around him. From an early age, he refused to conform to numerical concepts. Instead, he relies on his eye to give a sense of aesthetic.
In his art, he uses mixed media, focusing primarily on ceramics. “I’m particularly interested in ancient manufacturing techniques that favour sustainable methods and I often employ discarded items as tools for decoration,” he says.
Sarah Cornwall, ceramics, Millthorpe School, Nunthorpe Avenue, York
SARAH makes hand-built and wheel thrown ceramics in the form of chunky pots and tableware.
At present studying in the final year of a Contemporary Craft degree, she focuses on experimenting with form and colour. By compressing and manipulating the clay, her work takes on an identity of its own, producing a contrast of swirling bright colour against the depth of clay.
Laura Masheder, silver jewellery, Millthorpe School, Nunthorpe Avenue, York
LAURA trained originally as a classical singer, attending Leeds College of Music, and then left to raise a family and work in catering management for a decade.
On rekindling her creative ambitions, she studied for an Access to Higher Education course in art and design, leading to her degree studies in Contemporary Craft at York College, from where she graduated with first class honours in 2020.
In her hand-crafted hallmarked silver jewellery, she specialises in chasing and repoussé techniques, while also experimenting with wax casting and silver clay.
Her jewellery is a mix of figurative nature studies and abstract geometric pieces, as can be seen at boochica.com.
Silva Rerum (Fiona Hirst), jewellery, Millthorpe School, Nunthorpe Avenue, York
INFLUENCED by travel, anthropology and history, Fiona uses traditional silver and goldsmithing techniques, combined with digital technology.
As with many contemporary jewellers, she has a background in fine art and textiles. Several years ago, she decided to complete a second degree, specialising on mixed media and jewellery techniques. At the same time, she completed a P.G.C.E. and now teaches art, design and media.
Fiona’s designs are strong and modern, sometimes with a narrative element, and at present she is developing a collection based on inspirational women throughout history.
TOMORROW: Mick Leach, Pietro Sanna, Charlotte Dawson, Caroline Lewis, Lucie Wake and Pamela Thorby.