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

A textile designer by Amy Stubbs

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 their 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 say.

Cielo, collage, by Gail Fox

Gail Fox, collage

AN artist for more than 40 years, London-born Gail co-founded York Open Studios in 2002 with Anne Hutchison.

For 30 years, she made and exhibited hand-built coil pots after gaining a first-class degree at Central School of Art in London in 1980, undertaking commissions for fashion designer Bruce Oldfield and Trisha Guild, of the Designers Guild, for Next Interiors.

Since a change of artistic tack, she has focused on painting and now 2D abstract collages: explorations of juxtapositions, composition and colour, made from painted or found papers.

York Open Studios co-founder Gail Fox

“The whole process is about tweaking and adjusting. It relies on intuition about what seems visually right,” says Gail. “It’s a process of adding to and taking away, a little more of this, a little less of that.

“It’s a bit like adjusting a recipe until you know the taste is right.  Hopefully, after the struggle, something emerges that has a beauty, a sense of resolution and balance.” Learn more at

Sculptural jewellery by Jane Atkin

Jane Atkin, jewellery

MODERN and sculptural in form, Jane’s functional jewellery incorporates unisex designs in predominantly one-of-a-kind pieces in silver and gold.

“I use cut, uncut semi-precious stones and jet, found by me on the Yorkshire coast, that are employed in modern and minimalist ways,” she says. “From growing up surrounded by good modern design and architecture, these influences filter through into my jewellery.”

Jane Atkin’s studio

Responding to the need to reduce single-use plastic, she has designed a silver drinking straw as an investment for the future. “Silver is naturally antibacterial and will last a lifetime, so this is perfect as a Christening gift as an example,” says Jane, who exhibited at Pyramid Gallery and Lotte Inch Gallery, in York, and the British Craft Trade Fair last year. For more info, head to

Amy Stubbs: heading back north

Amy Stubbs, textiles

RELOCATED to York in a return to her northern roots, pattern print designer  Amy now works from the PICA Studios artist hub in Grape Lane.

This textile design graduate from Falmouth University draws inspiration “from a wealth of experience brought to her by her strong Yorkshire family heritage and the opportunity to experience varying cultures”.

Consequently, Amy’s textile work combines manually drawn abstract elements with the aid of digital technology to create her surface pattern prints that feature strong mark-making motifs and collaging.

2020 would have marked her York Open Studios. Looking ahead, her new website,, will be “coming soon”.

“Cheeky, bright and full of colour”: Emily Stubbs’s ceramics

Emily Stubbs, ceramics

EMILY creates hand-built sculptural ceramic vessels – cheeky, bright and full of life in character – that explore the relationship between colour, form and texture.

Born in Holmfirth, her first taste of clay was during her pre-BA foundation course at Batley School of Art and Design. Inspired by this medium, Emily studied ceramics at the University of Wales, Cardiff, graduating in 2007.

Emily Stubbs at work at PICA Studios, York

Moving to York in 2009, she has worked from PICA Studios, in Grape Lane, York, since 2017, taking Yorkshire and beyond by storm with her quirky ceramics in galleries and at art fairs, such as Ceramic Art London.  

Emily co-founded the Art& show at York Racecourse with Victoria Robinson and collaborated with Cooper King Distillery to create the artwork for their newly launched Herb Gin label last autumn. Head to to learn more.

Inspired by 20th century travel posters: Elliot Harrison’s illustration of the York Odeon cinema building

Elliot Harrison, illustration

ELLIOT creates architectural illustrations, prints and posters showcasing iconic York buildings and views, favouring a vibrant colour palette inspired by Art Deco design and vintage 20th century travel posters.

His distinctive retro York portfolio has been catching the eye for the past few years, whether at Frankie & Johnny’s Cookshop, Blossom Street Gallery and Owl & Monkey or in exhibitions at York Hospital and the Rowntree Park Reading Café.

Among his most popular illustrations are Rowntree Park, Bishopthorpe Road, the Blossom Street Odeon cinema, the former Clifton Cinema, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre and York Minster.

Elliot Harrison surrounded by his evocative retro artwork

His commissions include illustrations for York Theatre Royal and The Piece Hall, in Halifax, and his repertoire has expanded to take in running medals, mugs, coasters, cards, Christmas cards and a 2020 York calendar that sold out.

Elliot, who gained a degree in art and design from York St John University, was selected for his York Open Studios in 2020. Check him out via

TOMORROW: Rosie Waring; Colin Black; Nicola Lee; Rebecca Mason and Donna Maria Taylor.