YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, has been cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, with doors sadly shut for the April 17 to 19 and April 25 to 26 event, CharlesHutchPress wants to champion 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, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios will be 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. Addresses will not be included at this time.
Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling windows with their work instead. Look for #openwindowsyork2020 to locate them. “If you see one in your area while taking your daily exercise, take a picture and let us know,” they urge.
Jill Ford, ceramics
JILL began working as a potter in 2002, converting her garage into a studio and establishing her company Jill Ford Ceramics.
Her contemporary white porcelain encompasses innovative textural wall pieces, vases and bowls thrown on the wheel and a range of candlesticks, her work marked by richly textured decoration inspired by mountains and coastal rock formations.
Jill’s ceramics mirror the seasons, both in the processes she uses and the changing nature of her landscapes, with winter’s extreme temperatures making for a particularly impactful time of year.
A year spent trekking and sketching in the Scottish Highlands has provided inspiration for a range of Mountain Edge pots that gives a sense of exposure and drama.
Jill, who is a member of the Northern Potters Association and East Riding Artists, exhibits widely in galleries and shops around Britain and abroad, including New York, and she shows work at ceramics and craft fairs too. She also delivers masterclasses to potters’ groups and teaches ceramics in workshop sessions. Find out more at jillford.com.
Danny Knight, photography
AFTER participating in York Open Studios in 2017 with works from Berlin, documentary-style photographer Danny was all set to feature his street photography collated from New York and his home city of York in the 2020 event.
“Old York/New York is a series of still images documenting the mundane events of the people who walk the streets of these two famous cities, while contrasting their similarities/differences.”
His work seeks to capture “the everyday moments in these two amazing cities that are quite often missed due to the pace of life we live”.
As well as being a photographer, Danny works for the creative film production company Hewitt & Walker and is a city leader for Sofar Sounds York, the monthly venture that “reimagines live events through curated secret performances in intimate York settings”. For more info, seek out firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carrie Lyall, printmaking
CARRIE is a self-taught printmaker, based in Stamford Bridge, from where she runs her Rose & Hen business.
Her linocut prints, illustrations and handmade books are inspired by nature. Using botanical themes, she creates delicate silhouettes and patterns in contrasting colours, employing oil-based inks.
“I connect with nature while out walking, taking photographs or collecting subject matter, to be sketched and transformed into design ideas at home,” she says.
“My favourite part of the process is cutting the designs, and I often get completely immersed in creating marks and lines.”
Carrie is a member of York Printmakers and a volunteer team leader for Etsy Team York. 2020 would have been her first year as a York Open Studios artist. Check her out at roseandhen.etsy.com
Alison Spaven, textiles
ALISON’S passion for needle felting started six years ago during a chance encounter with the craft.
“I’ve been painting and drawing for a lifetime, and even flirted briefly with ceramics, before a day out with friends to a felting workshop on a canal barge changed my creative drive forever,” she recalls.
“I was inspired to create and work with wet and needle felted wool by some great tuition from friends and professional tutors. Needle felting, in particular, rapidly became an obsession and the husband indoors insisted that new homes had to be found for things, as falling over yet another hare is not his favourite pastime!”
Alison’s experience with sculpting in clay gave her the initial skills to work in 3D, before developing her own textural technique when painting with wool. Created with rare breed wool, using a single felting needle, Alison’s pictures consequently have a sculptural quality, a deliberate carry-over from her initial 3D work.
Alison, who trades as The Crafty Wytch from her Wytchwood Gallery and Studio, is a familiar face around Malton and beyond from her work as a stalwart of The Press and Gazette and Herald advertising team. Head to thecraftywytch.co.uk to discover more.
Kevin McNulty, printmaking
KEVIN describes himself as a compulsive printmaker, who explores themes such as identity and the human condition in his bold limited-edition printed collages, wherein he combines photography, arbitrary images, texture and abstract pattern.
“Experimenting with process and technique, I interweave modernity with the absurd to build complex and captivating designs,” he says. “I find inspiration in the everyday. I build layers for my prints using anything I can lay my hands on, including found items.” Even mobile phone parts and discarded teabags.
Kevin’s working practice is underpinned by a desire to make “pure prints by pulling each image by hand and embracing the fortuitous accidents that evolve each design as it transitions from laptop to ink and paper”.
Those prints were to have featured for the first time in this month’s now cancelled York Open Studios. Find his work at kevinmcnultyprints.com.
TOMORROW: Gail Fox; Jane Atkin; Amy Stubbs; Emily Stubbs and Elliot Harrison.