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

Self-taught abstract artist Mick Leach

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.

A textile work by Caroline Utterson

Caroline Utterson, textiles

CAROLINE combines her two great loves, photography and fabric, in creating one-off embroidered, appliquéd and felted artworks influenced as much by her imagination as by the landscape around her.

After graduating from university with a degree in textiles, she worked for North Yorkshire Police for eight years before travelling to Thailand to teach English.

On her return, using the tools she had to hand, Caroline taught herself freehand machine embroidery, a craft she likens to drawing with a sewing machine.

“The environment is important to me, so I use many recycled fabrics in my work,” says Caroline Utterson

“I’m greatly inspired by animals, nature, my northern roots and my love of travel and photography,” she says. “Forever taking photos of anything that catches my eye, I then convert my pictures into textile artworks, using fabrics, buttons, beads and bits that I have collected over the years. The environment is important to me, so I use many recycled fabrics in my work.”

Caroline launched her It’s Cute textile shop in September 2013. “The name was coined as a result of a happy acronym of my name and what I do: Caroline Utterson Textiles and Embroidery,” she says.

She would have been participating in York Open Studios for the first time this month. Contact her via

Furniture maker Marcus Jacka

Marcus Jacka, wood

MARCUS specialises in furniture and objects in wood, usually practical, sometimes only for contemplation.

After many years studying, teaching and researching in Physics, he has, for the past decade, been a full-time woodworker.

The common thread is design and experimentation, in thought, process and materials, as Marcus tries to achieve a spare lightness in what he creates. For more info, go to

“Structure, containment, balance”: Ruth King’s pots

Ruth King, ceramics

RUTH’S slab-built pots explore structure, containment and balance, articulated and enhanced by the passage of vapours in the final salt-glaze firing.

Trained at Camberwell School of Arts and Craft, she moved to York after four years living and working in London. A leading figure in York’s art world, with books to her name too, she is a member of the York Art Workers Association and a Fellow of the Craft Potters Association.

Ruth KIng in her studio

Unexpected yet hauntingly familiar, Ruth’s distinctive ceramic vessels have been exhibited widely and are represented in the collections of York Art Gallery; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; Royal Ulster Museum, Belfast; Nottingham Castle Museum and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

Her work is available by commission, through exhibitions, at and the Contemporary Ceramics Centre, London. More details can be found at

Elaine Hughes: Collages occupying the imaginary, whimsical world of Oh Golly Gosh

Elaine Hughes, collage

ELAINE creates stitched collages using vintage papers and ephemera to depict scenes from an imaginary, whimsical world she calls “Oh Golly Gosh”.

The paper is first coloured and manipulated with a variety of techniques to then illustrate an imaginary patchwork scene.

The text and graphics of old printed papers, along with a love of the character of old buildings and boats, provide inspiration.

“I have a love of the quirky vernacular buildings found in market and seaside towns, as well as ancient cities such as York,” Elaine says. “The charms of bygone eras of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s also play an important part in the aesthetic language of the work.

“Creating patina and pattern”: Elaine Hughes’s collage work

“I use text, fonts and graphics from vintage ephemera, such as old tram tickets, maps and dress-making patterns, to create patina and patterns.”

Elaine, a graduate in embroidery from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2001, has exhibited in galleries across Britain and since launching her Oh Golly Gosh label in 2009, her work has made its way to homes around the world, as well as finding a permanent home in The Written Gallery in York. Take a look at

Mick Leach’s paintings take inspiration from Russian artists El Lissitzky and Maleyich

Mick Leach, painting

AS a self-taught artist and full-time worker, Mick’s side-career in painting has been taking shape steadily since early 2016.

He works mainly with acrylic paint and chalk powder, along with other media, that he applies to MDF board to achieve a layered, industrial aesthetic in his abstract paintings.

He draws inspiration from El Lissitzky, the Russian artist, designer, photographer, typographer, polemicist and architect, and Kazemir Malevich, the pioneering fellow Russian avant-garde artist and art theorist.  

MIck Leach: geometric composition

“My work aims to abstract the modern, decaying landscape with textures and geometric composition,” says Mick, who won the 2019 Art& York Best Raw Talent award.

Last May to July, he took part in Pyramid Gallery’s Abstract Paintings exhibition; this month would have seen his York Open Studios debut. Check out

TOMORROW: Fiona Kemp; Chris Whittaker; Laura Masheder, Sarah Papps and Henry Steele.