AFTER the Covid-enforced fallow year of 2020, York Open Studios returns this weekend for its 20th parade of the city’s creative talent.
Preceded by Friday’s preview evening, the event will see 145 artists and makers open 95 studios, homes and workplaces on July 10 and 11 and July 17 and 18, from 10am to 5pm.
Among them will be 43 debutants, prompting CharlesHutchPress to highlight six newcomers a day over the week ahead, in map guide order, as York prepares for a showcase of ceramic, collage, digital art, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, furniture, sculpture and textiles skills this month.
Mick Leach, painting, 3 Thorpe Street, Scarcroft Road, York
AS a self-taught artist and full-time worker, Mick’s side-career in painting has been taking shape steadily since early 2016. “I’m still learning,” he says.
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.
“Pursuing my urge to create, 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.
Look out too for Evie Leach’s jewellery designs in the same house. Both Mick and Evie will take part in the preview evening from 6pm to 9pm.
Pietro Sanna, ceramics, 44 Dale Street, York
BORN in Sardinia and now working and living in York, Pietro has always been interested in art. During his degree studies in Contemporary 3D Craft at York College, he started to focus on the use of the ceramic medium.
Since graduating, he has taken part in The Kunsthuis Annual Ceramics Show, at the Dutch House, Mill Green Farm, Crayke, and in exhibitions at the Silson Contemporary Gallery, in Harrogate, where he is a gallery artist.
Pietro creates hand-built vessels as carriers for broad types of narratives; his practice taking inspiration from experimentation with clay and the possibilities it offers during the act of making.
Charlotte Dawson, painting, 44 Dale Street, York
PIETRO’S partner, Charlotte is a vital player in York’s art scene, organising the York River Art Market, by Lendal Bridge, where artists and craftspeople set up stalls on Dame Judi Dench Walk at weekends in the summer months.
In her own work, facilitator Charlotte is a multi-disciplined artist, focusing on abstract painting and jewellery. She began her formal arts education in 1996 at Westwood Art College, Scarborough, later taking a short course at York School of Jewellery in 2010.
After completing an Access course in Art & Design at York College in 2012, she gained a BA Hons in Art & Design Interdisciplinary at Leeds University of Art in 2015.
“My painting seeks to create a visual language, working intuitively to discover interesting compositions and colours through energetic mark making, while my jewellery designs are led by technique and colour to create contemporary and everyday pieces,” says Charlotte.
Caroline Lewis, collage, 24 Hob Moor Terrace, York
LANDSCAPES and ghosts vie for centre stage in Caroline’s artwork.
Scenes of (mainly) Yorkshire inspire the landscapes, depicted in collage, lino print and paint. As for the ghosts, images sparked by Covid-19 and abandoned places are captured in collage, transfer printing and paint.
Caroline has a BA Hons in ceramics from West Surrey College of Art and studied on a one-year jewellery course full time at Maidenhead College of Art.
She owned a delicatessen for 30 years until taking early retirement in 2017 to give her more time to take up art again, along with gardening, re-learning the piano, walking and just enjoying life full stop.
Lucie Wake, painting, 15 Slingsby Grove, York
ART runs like a seam through the life of Lucie, who has a BA Hons in Ceramics.
She built up a successful licensing company, Hocus Pocus, her designs adorning many products across most of the high-street stores. In 2005, she ventured into painting, concentrating on portraits, both of people and animals.
Lucie captures the soul of her portrait subjects through her expressive use of delicious slabs of oil paint on canvas. “It’s all about the eyes, they capture your attention,” she says.
Lucie, who promotes her art via Facet Painting, will be participating in Friday’s preview night from 6pm to 9pm and will be giving demonstrations over the two weekends.
Her work also can be found in the Momentum Summer Show, presented by the York art group Westside Artists at Blossom Street Gallery, by Micklegate Bar, York, until September 26. Gallery opening hours are: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10am to 4pm; Covid safety measures are in place.
Pamela Thorby, ceramics, 11 Middlethorpe Grove, York
PAMELA left behind a distinguished career in music as a recorder virtuoso and academic to pursue a new path in fine art.
Her stoneware-fired porcelain sculptural vessels are “imagined but reminiscent of a multiplicity of organic forms”: whether interstellar, fossil, micro-organism or coral.
“I aspire to make work light enough to be hung in the air; strong enough to be placed piece inside piece, creating new possibilities of form and meaning,” says Pamela. “My aim is to translate the dynamism and sensitivity of my former career as a musician into a ‘visual music’ in clay.”
She is “so excited” to have been selected for her first participation in York Open Studios. “This was another one of the goals that I set myself and here we are, in my third year as a ceramicist, and I’m working towards a major body of work for this month’s fantastic event,” she says.
During lockdown, Pamela worked intensively towards a collection of thrown functional stoneware to partner with her sculptural hand-built porcelain forms. “The concentrated discipline of daily wheel practice has provided meditative solace and structure in extraordinary times,” she says.
In her esteemed career in music, Pamela was professor of recorder at the Royal Academy of Music in London until 2019; the regular recorder player for Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins’s projects and a member of such groups as La Serenissima, New London Consort and Palladian Ensemble with Baroque violinist Rachel Podger.
In May 2007, she performed a radical fusion of jazz and folk music with Perfect Houseplants at the National Centre for Early Music in York, an innovative experience she described memorably as: “I’m a bit like a gherkin on a salad plate: I’m adding piquancy to the mix.”
She will give demonstrations during the two YOS weekends and will be opening up her home studio for the Friday preview too.
TOMORROW: Mark Druery, Kate Akrill, Lisa Lundqvist, Nick Kobyluch, Lucy McElroy and Liz O’Connell.