Elena’s window to a magical childhood winter goes on show at Owl & Monkey

A detail from Elena Skoreykp Wagner’s new winter window installation at Owl & Monkey, York

OWL & Monkey, the homeware and lifestyle store in Heslington Road, York, is unveiling its annual artist’s window installation for the festive season today.

The festivities will launch from today until Sunday as York illustrator Elena Skoreyko Wagner becomes the third artist chosen to celebrate the wonder and magic of a childhood winter.

As well as revealing Elena’s papercut installation, Helen and Matt Harris’s shop will be hosting events to herald the season, including fountain pen-making and a Letters To Santa opportunity, plus the chance to meet Elena and watch her papercutting in action on Sunday.

“Come down on Sunday between12 noon and 4 pm and ask Elena to create a mini paper version of you, your friends or family to take away on the day,” suggests Helen. “You can watch Elena make her cut-and-create decorations to purchase for £10. So, come prepared with some photos for your desired creation.” 

“The theme of a childhood Christmas really appealed to me, capturing that wonder and magic,” says Elena. Picture: Alice Lodge

As the installation goes on show, Helen says: “We’re excited to be hosting Elena’s beautiful creations and are delighted to welcome her installation and work to the shop.

“It exudes a sense of joy and hopefulness, celebrating the everyday elements of life through her collages, illustrations and zines. So, when we discovered her creations, we knew they were just what we were seeking.”

Matt adds: ‘We love the joyful nature of Elena’s work and how it captures the magic of the everyday. It matches so well with what we hope the shop offers; a happy place to celebrate the everyday.”

Canadian-born Illustrator Elena, who gained a BFA in studio art from York University in Toronto in 2006, specialises in colourful hand-cut paper collages, pieced together from paper snippets, along with zines. Her work is often narrative, depicting women and children, to touch gently on health and social issues, find magic and uncover meaning in the mundane.

Elena Skoreyko Wagner at work on a papercut. Picture: Kayti Pechke

“The theme of a childhood Christmas really appealed to me, capturing that wonder and magic,” she says of her new installation. “I have also been working with some local designers and makers to bring my designs to some exciting new products, so I’m really looking forward to bringing them to Owl & Monkey.”

An added element of the window from today is the re-use of vintage Japanese papers found by the Owl and Monkey duo. “A lot of my work uses up-cycled papers, so when Helen and Matt gave me some old, damaged Japanese papers, I was super-excited to see how they could gain a new story as part of the window,” says Elena. “Watch out for them in the very many garlands I’ve been busy sewing together these past few weeks.”

The Owl & Monkey homeware and lifestyle range “celebrates the simple pleasures of home and life with a carefully chosen selection of sustainably and ethically sourced goods to enhance the everyday”.

Helen and Matt Harris’s Owl & Monkey store in Heslington Road, York

“From studio pottery to an ever-growing range of stationery, all the products are selected with good ethics, function and joy in mind,” says Helen.

“We also focus on the power of sharing the skills and passions of the people behind the goods, so an important part of our ethos is collaboration with local designers, makers and artists.”

You can discover more about Elena’s work at elenastreehouse.com, on Instagram, @elenaskoreyko, and Facebook, @elenastreehouse.

Owl & Monkey, 16a Heslington Road, York, is open Wednesdays, 11am to 5pm; Thursdays and Fridays, 11am to 6pm; Saturdays 10am to 5.30pm, plus Sundays, 12 noon to 4pm, November 17 to December 22, and Tuesdays, 11am to 5pm, November 19 to December 17.

Charles Hutchinson