No York Open Studios in April, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY SEVEN

Fox in the box, by Anna Cook

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.

Academia, by Zosia Olenska

Zosia Olenska, painting

ZOSIA finds inspiration in everyday landscapes, looking to find beauty in our daily surroundings. This translates into “optimistic representational art” across the mediums of pen and ink and acrylic painting.

“Most of all, I would like people to come away from looking at my work feeling in some way uplifted,” says this self-taught artist. “Painting, for me, is a self-reinforcing cycle of noticing the beauty around us, then looking more to find it.”

Zosia Olenska: Likes her art to be uplifting

The daughter of two artists, Zosia came to work as an artist gradually through illustration, developing her practice by experimenting in different media. She has exhibited at the New Light Prize exhibition in North Yorkshire and with the Society of Women Artists at the Mall Galleries, London, in 2018 and 2019. Last year too, she was a heat artist in the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 competition.

In another string to her bow, Zosia designs hand-drawn pen-and-ink illustrations for the eco-friendly Niche Snowboards. Head this way for more info:

Anna Cook: paper cut artist

Anna Cook, paper cuts

ANNA is a self-taught paper cutter with a background in design and printmaking, whose work captures the personalities of the natural world’s inhabitants.

Layering intricately cut sheets of paper that she folds and sculpts and presents in deep box frames, she continually challenges herself to achieve more detail with each piece.

When creating a new design, Anna seeks inspiration from contemporary surface and pattern design and old botanical illustrations, as well as “the magical world of nature”. Contact her via

Cloisonne enamel lotus bud earrings, by Leesa Rayton Design Plus

Leesa Rayton Design Plus, jewellery

AFTER many years of working in health research, Leesa has made the leap into becoming a full-time jewellery designer. Now a member of the Guild of Enamellers and British Society of Enamellers, she would have been participating in York Open Studios for the first time this month.

“I use time-honoured techniques to design and create unique pieces of jewellery from precious metals, vitreous enamels, gemstones and beads,” she says. “My designs are inspired by architecture and the natural world.”

Leesa Rayton: Inspired by architecture and the natural world

Leesa is always seeking to expand her knowledge and to learn new techniques at York School of Jewellery, where she has studied over the past 12 years.

She is also a director of the Beautiful Splint Company CIC, a Tadcaster business that makes orthotic splints for fingers. Check out

Blue topaz necklace, by Karen J Ward

Karen J Ward, jewellery

LOOKING to escape the world of finance and return to her passion for creating art, Karen finally found her calling six years ago, re-training with Nik Stanbury and Julie Moss at York School of Jewellery, where she is now based.

Jewellery designer Karen J Ward

Working with precious metals and gemstones and using traditional skills, she first takes elements from her drawings to then transform flat sheets of metal into “beautiful wearable art” inspired by nature’s textures, shapes and curves.

Like Leesa Rayton (see above), she produces orthotic splints for hands, wrists and fingers in her work as co-director of the Beautiful Splint Company.  Head to to discover more.

Mark Azopardi at work in his studio space

Mark Azopardi, painting

MARK works mainly in pure watercolour, on occasion incorporating other media to produce highly detailed paintings and drawings.

His main inspiration comes from the colours and textures of all elements of the natural world, sometimes finding beauty in the simplest of things. Discover him via

A fleet of feathers, by Mark Azopardi

TOMORROW: Ruth Beloe; Milena Dragic; Russell Bailey; Anthony Chappel-Ross and Helen Drye.