Spot the difference as Tom Wood adds to online crow show at Lotte Inch Gallery

Water & Seeds, 2020, acrylic and collage, by Tom Wood

LOTTE Inch Gallery’s first online-only exhibition, Tom Wood’s The Abstract Crow, is becoming even more abstract.

“The exhibition catalogue is still available to view online, but some of the more eagle-eyed browsers among you will notice a few changes,” says Lotte Inch, owner of the gallery at Fourteen Bootham, York.

“In a true insight into the daily goings-on of the artist’s studio, Tom has revisited three of the works that form part of this exhibition.”

Explaining his decision, Tom says: “Sometimes I feel compelled to revise things. It’s dangerous having things at home. Starts off a portrait…ends up a bunch of flowers! Still, it will give future conservators something to puzzle over.”

Drawing A Dahlia, by Tom Wood

Lotte rejoins: “So, here’s the perfect excuse to revisit Tom’s exhibition once more and to see if you can spot the changes. If you have any questions about any of these works or others in the show, please feel to drop us a line at

“We’re always more than happy to deliver works for you to look at them if you’re based within the York area.”

Running from April 17 to May 16, Wood’s solo show pays homage to this Yorkshire artist’s love for the natural world, while displaying his imaginative and allusive abstract approach to painting.

Since graduating from Sheffield School of Art in 1978, Wood has exhibited his work worldwide. For example, his celebrated portraits of Professor Lord Robert Winston and Leeds playwright Alan Bennett, both commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London, have been shown at the Australian National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.

An abstract crow from Tom Wood’s The Abstract Crow online show at Lotte Inch Gallery

Wood has held solo shows at the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and Schloss Cappenberg, Kreiss Unna, Germany. Among his commissions are portraits for the National Trust, Warwick University and the Harewood Trust, for whom his large double portrait of the late 7th Earl and Countess of Harewood is on permanent display at Harewood House, near Leeds.

“We look forward to re-opening soon but, in the meantime, we continue to encourage you to browse online,” says Lotte. “Alongside Tom’s newly revised works, we also have a selection of new ceramic works and jewellery and will keep adding new items to our online shop, so do check back with us from time to time.

“Do note that if you live in the York area, we’re pleased to be able to offer a free and safe delivery service. Just select ‘Collect In Store’ and we’ll be in touch to arrange delivery of your items.”

Why are strange messages appearing in lockdown at Scarborough museums? You can provide the answers. Here’s how…

Whispers From The Museum: The online mystery for children that can be solved from May 12

ADVENTUROUS youngsters can help to solve a new online mystery, Whispers From The Museum, set at Scarborough Art Gallery and Rotunda Museum, from May 12.

The gallery and distinctive circular museum are closed under the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Nevertheless, strange messages have been appearing inside, but who or what is making them and what are they trying to tell us?

For six weeks from next Tuesday, young people – and their grown-ups – can uncover stories about assorted Scarborough Museums Trust objects by completing online missions and challenges from their own home. 

Created by Scarborough artist Kirsty Harris, Whispers From The Museum will feature a fictional young girl called George whose older brother, Sam, works at the gallery and museum.

Kirsty Harris: Artist, designer, maker and now woman of mystery

“George can’t visit Sam: like everyone else, she’s staying home,” says Kirsty. “But Sam still sends her videos and photos of what he’s been up to. Recently some very strange things have been appearing overnight in the museum.

“To find out what’s been going on, participants are invited to take part in exciting weekly missions. They can open the missions on their screen or print them if they prefer.”

Each mission will include simple creative projects, such as art or writing, and when finished can be shared on social media. To access each new mission, those taking part will need to answer a simple question or solve a puzzle.

Kirsty says: “Objects and paintings are sitting quietly within the walls of the museum. With no visitors to look at them and think about why they’re so special, their meaning may begin to fade. But they’re still there, full of stories and meaning and purpose. They can reach out to us, asking us to keep their stories alive.

The Tree Of Lost Things: An earlier project by Kirsty Harris

“In a few short weeks, the world we know has become unrecognisable in so many ways. Hundreds of thousands of children are facing months of staying at home, with little real-life contact with the outside world and the inspiration it brings. It’s a lonely prospect, and one that may leave many wondering about their place in the world.”

Scarborough Museums Trust’s learning manager, Christine Rostron, says: “We’re so pleased to be working with artist Kirsty Harris, who has created a brilliant story using our buildings and collections as inspiration.

“This adventure will help children to reach out to and connect with the world beyond their front doors, into a world full of amazing objects and stories that will be waiting for them to explore physically again in the hopefully not-too-distant future.

“To take part, families will need to be able to access the internet, so it’s probably best if an adult helps! Families will be encouraged to keep the things they make until the end of the project.”

Kirsty Harris’s Shhh, Did You Hear That? at Sutton House, near York. Copyright: National Trust

Whispers From The Museum is aimed primarily at children aged seven to 11, although younger and older children will enjoy the challenges too. Free to take part in, the first mission launches on Tuesday, May 12 at

Mystery adventure creator Kirsty Harris is an artist, designer and maker who specialises in installation and performative works. “I make immersive worlds and experiences in found environments, landscapes and theatres,” she says. “I make work for babies aged six months and all the ages that come after.” 

Kirsty has led design-based community projects for The Old Vic, the National Theatre, the National Trust, the V&A, Kensington Palace and Manchester Jewish Museum. 

Kirsty Harris’s Almost Always Muddy, presented by Likely Story Theatre. Picture: Rachel Otterway

She has collaborated with or been commissioned by Wildworks, Punchdrunk, The Young Vic, Coney, Likely Story Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, Southbank Centre, The Discover Centre, London Symphony Orchestra, National Theatre Wales and the National Trust.

Whispers From The Museum is the first of a series of new digital commissions from Scarborough Museums Trust as part of its response to the Coronavirus crisis. The trust has asked Lucy Carruthers, Estabrak, Wanja Kimani, Jane Poulton, Jade Montserrat and Feral Practiceas well as Kirsty Harris, to create digital artworks for release online across assorted social media platforms over the next four months.

These are the platforms:


YouTube channel:

Twitter: @SMTrust

Instagram: @scarboroughmuseums

Facebook: @scarboroughmuseums

Kentmere House Gallery may be shut but owner Ann Petherick rallies around artists

Man at easel: David Greenwood painting in his garden

KENTMERE House Gallery owner Ann Petherick is determined to champion “great art from troubled times”.

Her gallery doors in Scarcroft Hill, York, may be shut amid the Coronavirus lockdown, but nevertheless Ann has issued a rallying call to support artists still busy being creative.

“Artists are not quitters – and in any case have to eat, pay rent, buy materials, etc. – so it’s likely that all of them are hard at work in their studios in enforced isolation,” she says.

Rosie Dean outside her studio

“Artists need to sell, so for those of you who are indoors and bored with looking at bare walls, or at the same old images, the gallery is open online and you’re very welcome to browse”  

Ann has original paintings and artists’ prints by more than 70 artists, all unique to the gallery, at prices ranging from £30 to £2,000, as well as illustrated books by artists, priced £10 to £30, again unique to Kentmere House.

Gallery regular Susan Bower lives near Tadcaster, where she works from a spacious studio built by her husband, a former GP-turned-joiner and restorer of old fire engines. “The studio is lined with around 100 paintings: finished work waiting to be sent to galleries all over the country, work in progress, and postcards and cuttings for inspiration,” says Ann. “Dogs and grandchildren are banned but manage to sneak in nevertheless.”

John Thornton in his garden studio

John Thornton has a garden studio, self-built and looking on to a delightful sheltered garden. “Prevented from making his usual regular trips to the coast, he’s contenting himself with re-creating the scenes he loves,” says Ann.

“Likewise, Rosie Dean, always one of the most popular artists from York Open Studios, is working on her impressive seascapes from her terraced house in York.”

Suffolk artist Tessa Newcomb paints at her cottage near Aldeburgh. “Cats are always in evidence, and it’s necessary to pick your way carefully across the floor as paintings are everywhere!” says Ann. “It is perhaps fortunate that most of her work is fairly small.”

Ann Petherick surrounded by art at Kentmere House Gallery

David Greenwood now lives in Keighley, where he is lucky to have a garden to paint in, says Ann. “The ongoing cancellations of race meetings are a disappointment to him but he can still enjoy the canal walks that give him much inspiration,” she enthuses. “Like so many artists, he has plenty of sketches from previous visits to work on, along with the ideas in his head.”

Rosemary Carruthers always enjoyed her visits to York, where on several occasions she was artist-in-residence at the York Early Music Festival. “She’s now based in a new house in Holt in Norfolk, where she has a new garden to occupy her considerable gardening skills but retains time for painting her exquisite oils of musicians too.”

Ann updates her website,, regularly and frequently posts on Twitter @kentmere_h_gall. “One day I may even figure out how to deal with Instagram,” she says.  

Scarborough museums to commission digital works from artists in lockdown times

Feral Practice: Queenright, Ant-ic Actions, 2018-2021, work in progress

SCARBOROUGH Museums Trust is introducing a dynamic approach to its collections, learning and exhibition programming with a series of new digital commissions from artists nationwide in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

The trust, in charge of Scarborough Art Gallery, the Rotunda Museum and Woodend, has been working with Flow Associates to develop a new way of working across the organisation.

This will involve using a method called the “Story of Change”; in a nutshell “defining the change you want before choosing the tools to achieve or measure it”.

Homecoming, A Place, by Estabrak

Andrew Clay, the trust’s chief executive, says: “We want our work to make an impact. Defining that impact before we plan our exhibitions and wider programme means we can ensure we are relevant and responsive to our communities all the time.”

Key to this progression is a commitment towards diversity, inclusion and equality of access, leading to the trust finding innovative ways to promote this message.

A wide range of artists, among them Lucy Carruthers, Estabrak, Kirsty Harris, Wanja Kimani, Jade Montserrat, Jane Poulton and Feral Practice, have been asked to create digital artworks, to be released online over the next four months across myriad social media platforms.

Dust, mixed media, by Wanja Kimani, 2019

Clay says: “It’s so important to have access to the arts and culture at this difficult time: for many people, they’re a thought-provoking lifeline and have a proven positive effect on our mental health.”

Simon Hedges, the trust’s head of curation, collections and exhibitions, says: “Museums and galleries have a social responsibility to support communities, now more than ever before.

“We can provide a platform for creative expression that enables artists to share their messages to communities in lockdown. Their artworks can support personal wellbeing or become an opportunity to consider some of these wider issues.”

Ave Maria Gracia Plena, by Jane Poulton

As part of its commitment to access, the trust has been working with artistic producer Sophie Drury-Bradey and disability activists Touretteshero to ensure people with diverse minds and bodies can become more engaged in its work.

Hedges says: “Before the lockdown, we started to explore how access can be a creative stimulus for our projects and how to extend a warm welcome to our disabled communities.

“We’re now looking at the lockdown as an opportunity to continue this work and find creative and imaginative ways of ensuring people can access our digital content.”

Shhh, Did You Hear That, by Kirsty Harris. Picture: © National Trust, Sutton House

The trust has committed to embrace a range of access “tools” to accompany the digital content to support as many people as possible to connect. Scarborough illustrator Savannah Storm, for example, will create visual guides, or “social stories”, to provide audiences with downloadable information on what to expect before accessing digital content.

Alongside this, subtitles will be used wherever possible, with audio descriptions to follow. The first Gallery Screenings Online event this evening at 7pm will incorporate a live Q&A session being accompanied by live captioning.

Audio descriptions will support children and families with visual access requirements for the first digital commission by Kirsty Harris, narrated by 11-year-old Ruby Lynskey, from Scarborough.

Shadowing Revue – Ecclesiastes v Watercolour, gouache, ink and pen on paper, by Jade Montserrat, 2017. Collection of York Art Gallery

Supporting children and families to access content is important to the trust’s learning manager, Christine Rostron: “We’re looking at a range of ways to help families engage with the learning activities we’re about to launch online in fun, age-appropriate ways,” she says. “Using a local child to produce audio descriptions is much more relatable than the voice of an adult BBC presenter!”

The trust’s intention is to continue this work for the long term, as Clay reasons: “Being inclusive and accessible is not an add-on: it’s becoming part of our DNA.”

The artists involved in the New Digital Commissions project all will be participating in exhibitions at Scarborough Art Gallery and the Rotunda in 2021.

“We want our work to make an impact,” says Andrew Clay, chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Lucy Carruthers will explore how we forge connections at a time of distancing. Her interest in the relationship between inside and outside is all the more pertinent during lockdown, wherein she asks how social isolation affects museum objects.

Estabrak’s Homecoming is a multi-layered touring and participatory project using community engagement, film, sound and paint for cross-cultural exchanges built around home, identity, and displacement.

The project started in 2019 in Hull and Brighton and now Estabrak will conduct the social experiment Homecoming: A Placeless Place, inviting honest expression and participation through ultraviolet light, invisible ink and dark spaces, introduced digitally to communities in Scarborough. 

Estabrak: One of the artists taking part in Scarborough Museums Trust’s New Digital Commissions project.. Picture: Ali Al Sharji

Kirsty Harris is constructing a new digital project for children and families during social distancing that imaginatively will bring to life objects in the trust collection to connect with children struggling with social isolation.

Wanja Kimani will be creating walking journeys from a child’s eye view as she spends more time noticing the world around her and her sensory experiences become amplified.

Jade Montserrat will consider the socio-political impact of lockdown and “encourage us to discover new ways of being based on mutual support, rather than a model that exacerbates existing social inequalities”.

Jade Montserrat, working on her The Last Place They Thought Of installation, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Picture: Constance Mensh

Jane Poulton’s series of photographs and text will focus on personal objects she owns in order to consider whether those that mean the most to us are often acquired at times of crisis and what comfort they bring.

Feral Practice will develop a digital artwork leading to a major commission on the theme of extinction for 2021.

The new digital works will be available to view shortly via Scarborough Museums Trust’s:


YouTube channel:

Twitter: @SMTrust

Instagram: @scarboroughmuseums

Facebook: @scarboroughmuseums

Floodproof, Travelling Series, by Lucy Carruthers

Scarborough Art Gallery to launch series of online screenings on Tuesday nights

Great Bustard, from the Scarborough Collections. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

SCARBOROUGH Art Gallery will begin a series of online film nights with When Species Meet this evening (28/4/2020).

Gallery Screenings Online, on the last Tuesday of each month from 7pm, will feature films selected to give audiences a new perspective on both visiting exhibitions and the permanent Scarborough Collections, followed by a question-and-answer session.

The series will have features aimed at making them as accessible to as many people as possible. Each event will have optional live captions from a stenographer; downloading the app version of Zoom is recommended for those wishing to use this function. 

Artist and designer Lucy Carruthers and collections manager Jim Middleton: an image from the social story, illustrated by Savannah Storm

A visual guide, or “social story”, will be created too, with illustrations by Scarborough artist Savannah Storm, to explain the format and accessible elements of the screening. 

The first screening, When Species Meet, will look at captive and extinct animals and how film has been used to represent them, opening with Bert Haanstra’s nine-minute documentary Zoo, followed by Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendes’ 20-minute interactive film Bear 71. 

Filmed in 1962 and nominated for a 1963 BAFTA Award for Best Short Film, Zoo compares the behaviour of animals and humans, using a hidden camera to capture the true nature of both man and beast.

Great Auk egg, from the Scarborough Collections. Picture: David Chalmers

Bear 71 explores the life of a grizzly bear in Banff National Park, monitored by wildlife conservation offices from 2001 to 2009. The film “gives viewers the experience of ‘being’ a bear”, exploring how one animal’s life is interlinked and affected by the movements of humans and animals around it. 

The screenings will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A with Jim Middleton, collections manager at Scarborough Museums Trust, who will discuss the natural history collections within the archive, and with artist and designer Lucy Carruthers.

Andrew Clay, Scarborough Museums Trust’s chief executive, says: “Increasing access to our events, whether they are online or in our venues, is really important to us. No-one should feel excluded. We hope the visual guides and subtitles will support more people from our communities to participate in our activities.”

Film programmer Martha Cattell: email her for access to Gallery Screenings Online. Image: Susannah Storm

Film programmer Martha Cattell says: “Scarborough Museums Trust has a large collection of taxidermy animals locked away in the stores. Some of the species represented – the great bustard, the great auk, of which we have a rare egg, the passenger pigeons, Captain Cook’s bean snail – are now extinct largely due to human intervention.

“Their bodies now rest, static and captive in the archives. They are ghosts of species lost and haunted by the human actions that led to their demise.”

Simon Hedges, the trust’s head of curation, collections and exhibitions, says: “ We launched the Gallery Screenings programme at Scarborough Art Gallery in early March and then, of course, had to cancel it after the first one because of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Chatscreen: another illustration from the virtual guide by Susannah Storm

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to continue these fascinating events online. They will return to the gallery once we reopen to the public.”

Access to the Gallery Screenings Online event this evening is by password only, available, along with a link, by emailing   

The social story for When Species Meet can be downloaded at The Q&A and introduction will be available post-event on Scarborough Museums Trust’s YouTube channel:

Grayson Perry launches Art Club on Channel 4 as York Art Gallery awaits lockdown fate of Pre-Therapy Years show

Grayson Perry: Battling the boredom of lockdown, armed with art

TURNER Prize winner Grayson Perry launches Grayson’s Art Club, his pledge to “battle the boredom” of the Coronavirus lockdown through art, on Channel 4 tonight.

The Essex transvestite artist, potter, broadcaster and writer will be taking viewers on a journey of artistic discovery in a six-part series of themed shows designed to encourage you to make your own work in the new normal of isolation.

This was the year when Perry’s “lost pots” should have been the centre of attention in York from June 12 to September 20 in the Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years exhibition at York Art Gallery.

Watch this space for any update on what may yet happen. In the meantime, York Museums Trust is in discussion with its partners for The Pre-Therapy Years, an exhibition that is scheduled to move on to other venues.

Cocktail Party 1989, copyright Grayson Perry/Victoria Miro, from the Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years exhibition, whose opening at CoCA, York Art Gallery, was in the diary for June 12 2020

Back to Grayson’s Art Club. Through the magic of video call, in tonight’s first episode broadcast from his London workshop at 8pm, 60-year-old Perry will address the theme of Portrait with large-scale figurative painter Chantal Joffe and comedian and campaigning presenter Joe Lycett, who has taken to trying his hand at portraiture during lockdown.

For episode two, focusing on animal art, Grayson’s online guests will be British painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling and comedian and TV show host Harry Hill.

Ampleforth College alumnus and Angel Of The North sculptor Antony Gormley and comedian and comedy actor Jessica Hynes will pop up in episode three.

Episode four will feature artist Tacita Dean and comedian cum surrealist artist Vic Reeves, aka Jim Moir, creator and curator of the £500,000 Vic Reeves’ Wonderland for the 2012 Illuminating York festival of light and sound.

Vic Reeves, aka Jim Moir, at the opening of Vic Reeves’ Wonderland, his surrealist 2012 Illuminating York creation

Further guests will be announced later for an interactive series that will climax with an exhibition of works made by both the public and Perry’s celebrity guests as a “chronicle of Britain’s mood and creativity in isolation”.

Whenever it does run in York, Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years comprises his earliest works and “lost pots”, including 70 ceramics crowd-sourced after a national public appeal.

Presented in York Art Gallery’s Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA), this exhibition will be the first time these lost Perry creations have been assembled for display together, a cause for celebration for the Royal Academician Grayson.

“This show has been such a joy to put together, I am really looking forward to seeing these early works again, many of which I have not seen since the Eighties,” he says.

Grayson Perry’s Melanie, one of his Three Graces, exhibited at CoCA

“It is as near as I will ever get to meeting myself as a young man; an angrier, priapic me with huge energy but a much smaller wardrobe.”

CoCA first exhibited a Grayson Perry ceramic, Melanie, in July 2015 as its centrepiece talking point after York Art Gallery’s £8 million transformation.

Melanie is one of three women from his Three Graces work, joined by Georgina and Sarah in the Miss Plus Size Competition.

“First seen in Grayson’s Who Are You? documentary, Melanie is a voluptuous figurative piece with a strong narrative that discusses the changing view of  what constitutes feminine beauty,” said York Museums Trust’s curator of ceramics, Dr Helen Walsh, at the time.

Perry commented on his Three Graces: “In the history of sculpture, female forms such as these were often seen as fertility goddesses to be prayed to for children and plentiful harvests. Nowadays, we are more likely to see a growing health problem.”

In its Familiarity Golden, one of two “everywoman” tapestries from Grayson Perry’s The Essex Tapestries: The Life Of Julie Cope, on display in 2020 at Nunnington Hall

In May 2014, accompanied by his childhood teddy bear Alan Measles, Perry opened the Meet The Museums Bears special event in the York Museum Gardens in full transvestite regalia as part of York Museums Trust’s contribution to the Connect 10 Museums At Night national celebration.

Earlier this year, from February 8, Perry’s Stitching The Past Together tapestries went on show at Nunnington Hall, near Helmsley.

Out went the National Trust country house’s 17th century Verdure tapestries for conservation work; in came a pair of Grayson’s typically colourful and thought-provoking Essex House Tapestries: The Life Of Julie Cope (2015).

Hanging in an historic setting for the first time, in the Nunnington Hall drawing room, this brace of large-scale, striking works tells the story of Julie Cope, a fictitious Essex “everywoman” created by the irreverent Chelmsford-born 2003 Turner Prize winner.

Blue Tree Gallery goes online for first time for lockdown exhibition in aid of NHS

Dedicated To Lord Byron, mixed media, by Paolo Lazzerini

BLUE Tree Gallery, in Bootham, York, is holding its first online exhibition, amid the Coronavirus lockdown, in aid of the NHS.

“Due to the temporarily closure of our gallery on March 20, we have now made the gallery and purchase of our artworks available online – with our thoughts for the concerns of frontline NHS staff, ” says Blue Tree’s Gordon Giarchi.

Margaret Clitherow Of York, by Sharon Winter

“This is why we’re starting with a very special exhibition of a variety of our gallery artists’ paintings entitled NHS Charity Exhibition Online – Raising Funds for the NHS. We got in touch with and signed up to the cause, and the online show then began on April 20, one month after lockdown, since when we’ve been selling quite a few paintings to date with more to follow.”

Taking part in this inaugural online show are Kate Boyce; Deborah Burrow; Colin Carruthers; Colin Cook; Giuliana Lazzerini; Paolo Lazzerini; Neil McBride and Sharon Winter.

Open Road, mixed media, by Kate Boyce

A minimum of ten per cent of the retail price from every original painting sale will be donated between the gallery and the artists to the NHS Covid-19 Appeal for York Hospital.

“Running until the beginning of June, this exhibition will offer all our customers the opportunity to support the NHS, the artists and, of course, the gallery in these trying times,” says Gordon.

Under The Skylarks II, by Deborah Burrow

All work for sale on the website,, will be posted free of charge in Britain, although charges will apply overseas.

“We really hope you enjoy this exhibition, in the safety and comfort of your own home,” says Gordon. “Stay safe and take care of yourselves.”

No York Open Studios this weekend, but all that art and craft still needs a new home… DAY 28

TODAY should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home, on weekend two of York Open Studios 2020.

From tomorrow, art will be on the nation’s TV sets as Grayson’s Art Club “battles the boredom of Coronavirus lockdown by taking viewers on a journey of art discovery” in a six-part Channel 4 series.

From his London workshop, anything-but-grey artist Grayson Perry will encourage the British public to create their own art while in isolation, built around six themed shows that will climax with an exhibition of viewers’ art.

Been there, done that, will continue to do all that art-making, might well be the resourceful attitude of the 144 artists and makers at 100 York locations after the Covid-19 pandemic strictures turned York Open Studios into York Shut Studios.

Over the past four weeks, CharlesHutchPress has determinedly championed the creativity of York’s artists and makers. Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios have been given a pen portrait on these pages, because so much art and craft will have been created for the event and still needs a new home.

The last five are being profiled today, when you also can visit to take your own Virtual Open Studios tour, wherein artists show their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answer your questions, and display pictures of their new work.

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more,” advises the YOS website.

Anyway, time to discover more about…

Meg, oil on linen, winner of Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize 2018, by Marcus Callum

Marcus Callum, painting

MARCUS is a British-Australian contemporary figurative painter and digital artist who specialises in realist portraiture.

“Fusing traditional techniques with a contemporary aesthetic, my work conveys a sense of psychological insight and is designed to provoke an emotional response,” he says. “Buddhism, meditation, hypnosis and our understanding of the subconscious mind are influences on my process and subject matter.

“Characters reflect on increasing anxieties over impending global crises and wonder if, by each of us becoming more conscious, we may discover individual and collective hope.”

Self-portrait, by Marcus Callum

Trained in Sydney and New York, Marcus won the Dame Joan Sutherland Award in 2014; Australia’s third richest portrait prize, the Black Swan Portrait Prize, in 2015 and the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize, Australia’s premier award for realistic portraiture, in 2018, when he also was a finalist in the Sky Portrait Artist of the Year.

Marcus previously worked between Sydney and London; now York has come into his life. He was long-listed for the Aesthetica Art Prize, whose 2020 exhibition opened at York Art Gallery before the Coronavirus lockdown, and he would have been exhibiting in York Open Studios for the first time. Visit for more info.

Bratislavian Folk Memory, by Robert Burton

Robert Burton, textiles

ARTIST and academic Robert tells stories in textiles, fibres and cloth, utilising print and found objects in narratives of people, lives and things.

“I explore themes of memory, loss and transformation through fibre, fabric making, print techniques, drawing and broad approaches to image making,” he says.

“My artworks cross the threshold of disciplines in a conceptual dialogue between the innovative use of analogue, contemporary and emerging techniques.”

Rob Burton: Themes of memory, loss and transformation

Rob’s work has been shown all over the world in solo exhibitions, biennial and group exhibitions, whether in Britain, the United States or Eastern Europe. Last year, he exhibited in Ivano-Frankivs’k, Ukraine; Vilnius, Lithuania; Madrid, Spain, and Haachst, Belgium.

He regularly collaborates with the international screendance collective WECreate to produce costumes for video, dance and installations. Find out more at

Inspired by horizons: Jo Walton’s artwork

Jo Walton, painting

ARTIST, upholsterer and interior designer Jo’s paintings are abstract, inspired by horizons, whether rust-prints on paper and plaster, combining rusted metal with painting, or seascapes on gold-metal leaf.

Her artwork reflects her childhood in Australia and her days as a young woman spent sailing oceans, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.

After many years of travelling, Jo returned to England, studying fine art at Bradford University and now exhibiting all year round from her York studios, Rogues Atelier, an old tannery in Franklins Yard, Fossgate, that she shares with jeweller and fellow York Open Studios exhibitor Emma Welsh and textile artist Robert Burton.

Jo, whose work features regularly at Terry Brett’s Pyramid Gallery in Stonegate, would have been taking part in York Open Studios for a sixth successive year.  

Jo Walton: Artist, upholsterer and interior designer

In her “other life”, Jo is an upholsterer, initially learning her skills from making cushions and sail covers for yachts in her time living in Greece. She gained her City and Guilds qualification in modern and traditional upholstery and has taught the subject for many years for City of York Council.

“Occasionally, my skills have the opportunity to blend into a ‘huge blank canvas’: interior design,” says Jo, whose first public design commission was for Space 109, the community arts centre she founded in Walmgate in 2006.

Her second was to convert three empty shops on Bishopthorpe Road into Angel on The Green, a bar and café and home to comedy nights and exhibitions that had to “flow with a solid theme throughout”. “It was quite a step to move on to a bar from a community bar,” she says.

In between, Jo created the Rogues Atelier studios, where she takes on upholstery commissions and runs upholstery and cushion-making workshops. Her latest design was for the interior of the Bluebird Bakery, in Kirkgate Market, Leeds. Complete the picture at

Handmade Bismark Chain, by Emma Welsh

Emma Welsh, jewellery

EMMA, a professional jewellery designer with 11 years’ experience, is now a resident artist at the Rogues Atelier studios.

She designs traditionally made silver, gold and platinum pieces, her latest work exploring jewellery with a practical use in the form of vessels with various purposes.

Emma has a keen interest in developing her skills, embracing ancient principles as a means of deepening her relationship with the materials and tools she works with.

She completes bespoke commissions, repairs and re-modelling of existing jewellery into new designs and offers bespoke tuition in York, most notably her  wedding-ring workshops. Head to for more details.

Deranged Poetesses, by Northern Electric’s Peter Roman

Northern Electric, multi-media

NORTHERN Electric received a York Open Studios 2020 multi-media bursary to present a tale of loss at the Arts Barge, Foss Basin, York, over the two weekends.

The bursary “enables artists to create experiences such as digital works, installations, films or performances as part of the Open Studios”.

Presented by York storyteller, performance poet and theatre-maker Katie Greenbrown and artist Peter Roman, with a score by Christian Topman and Chris Moore, their latest multi-media presentation “takes us back to when the Ouse teemed with working barges, you knew your place or else – and jazz was the devil itself”.

Artist Peter Roman and storyteller, performance poet and theatre-maker Katie Greenbrown

“We specialise in creating and delivering multi-media storytelling pieces that combine spoken-word poetry, art and live music,” says Katie. “Our recent work includes Magpie Bridge for Apples & Snakes to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing in July 1969; Green In Our Memory, for City of York Council’s First World War commemorations, and Rust for the 2019 Great Yorkshire Fringe, in collaboration with Arts Barge and York Theatre Royal.”

After the cancellation of York Open Studios 2020, what will happen next to the new Northern Electric piece? “We’ve completed it, so we’re thinking of trying to do a digital screening,” says Katie. “We just need to chat with Hannah [West] and Christian [Topman] from the Arts Barge about the possibility of doing that.” To keep on track, visit

TOMORROW: After York Open Studios/York Shut Studios 2020, the CharlesHutchPress art focus switches to the Blue Tree Gallery, in Bootham, York, now hosting an online exhibition in aid of the NHS.

Looking ahead, York Open Studios 2021 will run on April 17 and 18 and 24 and 25, with a preview evening on April 16.

No York Open Studios this weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 27

Shambles At Night, by Greg Winrow

TODAY and tomorrow should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home, for weekend two of York Open Studios 2020.

On Monday, art attention will turn to episode one of Grayson’s Art Club, a six-part Channel 4 series wherein artist Grayson Perry promises to battle the boredom of Coronavirus lockdown by taking viewers on a journey of art discovery.

From his London workshop, Perry will encourage the British public to create their own art while in isolation, built around six themed shows that will climax with an exhibition of viewers’ art.

Grayson Perry: Launching Grayson’s Art Club series on Channel 4 on Monday

Been there, done that, will continue to do that, might well be the resourceful attitude of the 144 artists and makers at 100 York locations after the Covid-19 pandemic strictures turned York Open Studios into York Shut Studios.

Over the past four weeks, CharlesHutchPress has determinedly championed the creativity of York’s artists and makers, who would have been showcasing their ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textiles skills this month.

Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios have been given a pen portrait on these pages, because so much art and craft will have been created for the event and still needs a new home. The last ten are being profiled over this weekend, and again home and studio addresses will not be included at this lockdown time.

York Open Studios 2020: The lost weekends that found diverse alternative ways to reach out beyond the closed doors

York Open Studios artists have responded to the shutdown by filling their windows for #openwindowsyork2020, while plenty are showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online via their websites.

This weekend, you can visit to take your own virtual tour. The YOS website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studios, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends.They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work.

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”

First, however, here are five more artists and makers for you to discover. The final five will follow tomorrow.

Mim Robson: Exploring themes of memory, transition, loss, family, identity and womanhood

Mim Robson, printmaking

MIM is a multi-disciplinary artist now working primarily in printmaking and textiles, with a background in community arts engagement and land art.

“My current project uses mono-printing techniques, natural dyes, eco-printing and patchwork to explore themes of memory, transition, loss, family, identity and womanhood,” she says.

She also is working on a set of illustrated zines, small books and tiny stories, their subjects varied but “generally an expression of an idea, thought or small observations of people or notable moments”.

Mim Robson: a polymath who adds up to a multitude of artistic pursuits

Having grown up in the Yorkshire countryside, the natural world inspires her diverse artistic portfolio, whether land art and ephemeral artworks using materials from nature, such as delicate yet vibrant floral mandalas, or her short-lived beach artworks.

Inspired by sand artist Andres Amador, Mim began making large-scale sand art on the Yorkshire coast in 2016. “Using rakes to make patterns in the sand, these usually take at least three hours to complete…and a few miles of walking,” she says. “I use photography to capture these creations at their peak; they last for the rest of the day until the tide washes them away.”

Mim Robson with one of her out-with-the-tide beach artworks

Since completing a national diploma in 3D design craft at York College, she has taken assorted craft courses, learning wood carving, stained glass work and willow weaving; worked and studied in community and youth work and undertaken a degree in Creative Expressive Therapies from the University of Derby.

“This now underpins all of the creative events, Crafty Socials and art, craft and creative expressive workshops I run, as well as my art-making,” says Mim, whose making extends to darkroom and alternative photography techniques, stop-motion videos and henna tattooing at festivals and events. She even finds time for an environmental beach-clean project.

Head to for more info on this PICA Studios artist.

Pickles Snoozing, drypoint mono, by Lesley Shaw

Lesley Shaw, printmaking

ARTIST and printmaker Lesley works primarily in charcoal, dip pen and ink and traditional printmaking techniques, such as linocut, mono and drypoint.

“Life drawings form the basis of all my work,” she says. “I work quickly and instinctively to capture the beauty and simplicity of the form, looking at the shape and line the body takes.”

Whether figurative or animals, her illustrative line drawings are bold, simplistic and striking, inspired by such artists as Egon Schiele, Toulouse Lautrec and Sybil Andrews of the Grosvenor School artists, who captured the spirit of 1930s’ Britain with iconic vibrant linocuts.

“I work quickly and instinctively to capture the beauty and simplicity of the form,” says Lesley Shaw

Lesley, who has a degree in illustration, lived and worked in London for more than 20 years before settling in York. She has sold work at the Mall Galleries, in London, and to the BBC and takes part in both York Open Studios and Art& in York, where she is a member of York Printmakers and the York Art Workers Association.

She works from PICA Studios, set within an 18th century printworks, now home to the workshops of around 25 artists and makers. Discover more at

“Suddenly everything made sense,” says Elena Skoreyko Wagner, after finding her way to illustration

Elena Skoreyko Wagner, collage

CANADIAN illustrator Elena makes bright, intimate, intricate, hand-cut paper collages.

“Using recycled bits of paper imbued with their own histories, I assemble poetic images to illustrate personal stories and emotional experiences,” she says. 

Elena completed a BFA in studio art from York University in Toronto, Canada, in 2006, then spent a decade winding her way through odd jobs, a masters in occupational therapy, a couple of overseas moves and motherhood times two en route to illustration.

“I found my way to illustration when some former professors asked me to illustrate a paediatric assessment and suddenly everything made sense,” she says.

Elena Skoreyko Wagner: “Touching gently on social issues, finding magic and uncovering meaning in the mundane”

“I now work as a freelance and make zines, as well as the colourful hand-cut collages pieced together from collected paper snippets. My work is often autobiographical, depicting women and children to touch gently on social issues, find magic and uncover meaning in the mundane.”

Elena lives in York with her economist husband and two children. “I can be found most days nestled in a nook, manifesting a rainbow tornado of paper snippets, or making equally impressive messes with my two small protégés,” she says.

Now working from PICA Studios, she would have been making her York Open Studios debut. Take a look at

A sculptural textile by Ealish Wilson

Ealish Wilson, textiles

EALISH has lived and worked in many places around the world, spending the past 15 years in the USA before making her way to York and now joining the PICA Studios arts hub.

However, Japan was where her work was transformed. “Japan taught me that art exploration and practice is a lifelong journey from which we constantly learn,” she says.

“Experience informs the creative process over time, enhancing and developing an artist’s expression. It’s about seeing creativity in the everyday.”

She brings this philosophy to making her sculptural textiles, using a variety of substrates and techniques, including print, drawing, photography and stitching.

Goodbye USA, hello York: Ealish Wilson after her move to Yorkshire

“I repeat this process to create multiple iterations and layers to my designs,” she says. “Much of my process investigates pattern and its transformation through surface manipulation. I use many traditional hand methods of stitching such as pleating and smocking to physically alter my original designs.

“Frequently my work starts in the digital realm: whether photographing an object or one of my own paintings, it serves as inspiration for new work. Many of my images are everyday scenes or objects of purpose that appear mundane but feature a beautiful shape or colour that’s a perfect jumping-off point to create a textile.”

2020 would have been the first year in York Open Studios for a textile designer who sees the craft of making as “my form or meditation”. Visit to see her work.

A window to Winrow ….

Greg Winrow, printmaking

GREG splits his time 50/50 producing silk screen and linocut prints covering a variety of topics in his York studio, where he uses a Hawthorne press for his lino work.

Earlier, he studied art and design in York and photography and design in Harrogate before acquiring his interest in printing techniques.

Greg Winrow at the York River Art Market

Now a keen member of the York Printmakers, taking part in their annual fair, he has exhibited too at the York River Art Market and York galleries. 2020 was to have been his second year in York Open Studios.

And finally, tomorrow: Marcus Callum; Robert Burton; Jo Walton; Emma Walsh and Northern Electric (Katie Greenbrown).

No York Open Studios this weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 26

York Theatre Royal, illustration, by Ric Liptrot

LAST weekend should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home. This weekend too.

This is not a cabin-fevered call for a foolhardy Trumpian dropping of the guard on Covid-19, but a forlorn wish that York Open Studios 2020 could have been just that: York Open Studios. Instead, they will be York Shut Studios.

Nevertheless, in the absence of the opportunity to meet 144 artists at 100 locations, banished by the  Coronavirus lockdown, CharlesHutchPress is determinedly championing the creativity of York’s artists and makers, who would have been showcasing their ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textiles skills.

Each day, in brochure order, a handful of artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios are being given a pen portrait on these pages, because so much art and craft will have been created for the event and still needs a new home. Home and studio addresses will not be included at this lockdown time.

Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling their windows for #openwindowsyork2020, while plenty are showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online. Visit to take your own virtual tour.

The website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studios, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends. They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work.

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”

First, however, here are six more artists and makers for you to discover…

Birds Heart, by Sarah Raphael-Balme

Sarah Raphael-Balme, painting

SARAH makes figurative work spanning interiors, gardens, portraits and decorative motifs usually involving figures or creatures, painted mainly in oil, sometimes in gouache.

Sarah Raphael-Balme: Painting in oil and gouache

A graduate of Chelsea College of Art, Sarah has shown her work widely in the UK and USA. Her illustrations are published by IPC magazines, BBC publications, Heinneman and countless others.

She is exhibiting solo with House of Hackney concurrently in New York and London. Go to for more.

The Enchanted Forest, depicting the sacred and spiritual nature of trees, from Lesley Seeger’s 2020 series, Whispers Of Spring

Lesley Seeger, painting

INSPIRED by the natural world, Lesley paints landscapes and abstract florals, her lyrical work marked by an exploration of the emotional impact of colour.

“Although all my work begins ‘in the field’ with observation, ‘painting what I see’, I realise that it quickly becomes, ‘how what I see makes me feel’. How trees and hills and furrow sit together in the language of light and dark,” she says.

“I’m interested in the significance of place. This might be somewhere well known, such as Ripon Cathedral or the White Horse at Kilburn, or a random field or view in which the way things are placed in the landscape makes it out of the ordinary.”

“I like to think of my paintings as talismans,” says Lesley Seeger

Lesley is a self-taught artist, whose work over 23 years now has been inspired by sculpture studies at York College, as much as by the art of Gillian Ayres, Howard Hodgkin, Elizabeth Blackadder, Mary Fedden and Ivon Hitchens.

“At a certain point, the painting takes over and I become interested in pattern, mark making, colour and texture as vehicles of expanding what I see,” she says. “The work becomes intuitive…. a hybrid between the observed and imagined, the seen and felt.’

Born in Newcastle in 1958,Lesley studied English and Media at Southampton University, then worked in theatre and publishing and qualified as an art therapist at Sheffield Hallam University. She worked for several years in community arts in York, most notably a six-year residency at York Hospital, where she ran art projects in the renal unit. 

Ripe Corn Before The Storm, by Lesley Seeger

Last year she was artist-in-residence at the Yorkshire Arboretum, near Castle Howard; this year, she holds the same post at Brisons Veor, Cape Cornwall.

Lesley, who runs painting workshops, published the art book Coming Home, A Contemporary Colourist’s Approach To English Landscape in late-2016, and also designs cards and linen cushions. Upcoming shows pencilled in for 2020 are Art for Youth North and Art& York, both in October.

“I like to think of my paintings as talismans,” she says. “They will reveal themselves over time with their rich histories of place, layers and colour.” Time to visit

Bangle Pair, by Evie Leach

Evie Leach, jewellery

EVIE decided to follow her creative passion by studying jewellery and silversmithing at the Birmingham School of Jewellery.

There, her basic knowledge, learned from her jeweller parents, transformed into traditional skills.

Evie Leach at work

Her trademark is angular designs with inspiration taken from geometry found in nature and architecture, while more recent designs include semi-precious gemstones set beside angled clusters of gold and silver to create dynamic, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Not only would PICA Studios jeweller Evie have been taking part in York Open Studios, but also her husband, self-taught artist Mick Leach, would have been making his YOS debut. Cast an eye over her designs at

The Hairy Fig and Kiosk, in Fossgate, by Ric Laptrot

Ric Liptrot, illustration

FREELANCE illustrator Ric captures everyday life in York, depicting its distinctive and much-loved sites in acrylics, pencils, collage and mono-print.

“I’m inspired by the architecture and scenes of York,” says the PICA Studios artist. “I combine my passion for these buildings with my support for the independent businesses York has to offer.

Ric Liptrot: Inspired by the architecture and scenes of York

“I’m an ambassador for these shops, bars and cafés and believe they’re important in helping communities grow.”

Take a look at Ric’s illustrations that “capture the places loved by the local community” at

Ursa Major And Minor, by Katrina Mansfield

Katrina Mansfield, painting

KATRINA creates vivid, fascinating “fluid art animal inks”, using alcohol ink on synthetic Yupo paper to depict the animals, birds and insects.

The paper allows a longer working time with the ink, “the most intriguing medium and at the same time the most frustrating”.

“It can produce magical results that you get lost in for hours and hours, but it can also destroy the most striking pattern in the blink of an eye,” says Katrina. “It is exactly like nature itself, devastatingly beautiful.”

“Ink is the most intriguing medium and at the same time the most frustrating,” says Katrina Mansfield

In turn, this is why she chose the subject of animals. “The creatures of this Earth are both fragile and unbreakable, they are flawless and yet also imperfect. They add colour to our human lives, yet they are increasingly in danger of becoming extinct through our actions. This series of works is a reminder to all that we need the diversity, beauty and intelligence of these creatures in order to survive.”

Now a PICA Studios artist, Katrina trained in fine art and scenic art at York College, Lincoln University and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She worked in television, film and theatre for a decade, latterly in the West End and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, before returning to York in 2018 to focus on developing her new process of fluid art animal inks.

“The paintings take anything from one to four weeks to finish and are principally made without the use of a paintbrush,” she says. “I only use a brush if I have no other option or to place the white in the eyes; everything else is formed from the natural flow of the ink.” Animal ink magic awaits at

Wall hangings from Kitty Pennybacker’s textile range

Kitty Pennybacker, textiles

KNITWEAR designer Kitty combines cording, knitting, weaving and felting to create a textile collection of super-soft homeware items, such as wall hangings, neckerchiefs, baby blankets and knee throws.

“The work re-imagines the tartan and tweed fabrics of my childhood in North Yorkshire,” says Kitty, who gained an MA in Fashion Design and Society from Parsons School of Design, New York, after her BA in Fashion Textiles Design at the University of Brighton.

She has worked within the fields of fashion and television in New York and London and is now part of the PICA Studios art and design hub. Learn more at

Kitty Pennybacker : Knitwear designer

TOMORROW: Mim Robson, Lesley Shaw, Elena Skoreyko Wagner, Ealish Wilson and Greg Winrow.