Who are the NEW artists in the 2021 York Open Studios? Meet the first six…

Kitty Greenbrown: Spoken-word poet making her York Open Studios debut on the second weekend with Rust, her collaboration with artist Peter Roman

AFTER the Covid-enforced fallow year of 2020, York Open Studios returns next weekend for its 20th showcase of the city’s creative talent

Preceded by next 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.

A vibrant micro-landscape by Rosebay

Rosebay, vibrant micro-landscapes in acrylic, 25, Turners Croft, Heslington

ROSEBAY uses the quick, direct method of marker pens filled with acrylic to produce big, bold canvases, drawing on elements of pop art, graffiti art and cartography to celebrate the hidden, unsung corners of the natural world. 

Rosebay started painting in 2009, inspired by the Sydney coastline in Australia. Informed by her background in biology, her work incorporated abstracted natural forms, from forest canopies to tiny sea creatures.

After an exhibition in Sydney, her return to the UK brought a fresh palette of increasingly vibrant colours and a move to tightly focused micro-landscapes.
The shoreline remains a huge inspiration and, appropriately, she has  exhibited in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, and Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

“I like to exaggerate and intensify colours,” says Rosebay

“Working from a mixture of memory and photographs, I focus on one small area – a limpet-covered rock, the trunk of a tree – and this becomes my micro-landscape with its own topography,” says Rosebay.

“Features within it are stylised to varying degrees, sometimes to the point where they appear completely abstract. Simple forms, such as the white circles representing barnacles, are often repeated many times.”

Her paintings sometimes resemble maps.Those water channels or rock striations can look like roads, patches of seaweed like green parks in a city. It adds to the feeling of a landscape where observers can lose themselves,” she reasons.

“I like to exaggerate and intensify colours: as well as making everything more vivid, it takes my work a further step away from ‘reality’, which I like. Each block of colour is delineated by a border of dark violet, which is the shade I associate with deepest shadow.”

A bright, intricate hand-cut paper collage by Elena Skoreyko Wagner

Elena Skoreyko Wagner, collage illustration, The Drey Studio, 16a Heslington Road, York

CANADIAN illustrator Elena creates bright, intricate hand-cut paper collages, re-using paper snippets imbued with their own histories to assemble poetic images that illustrate intimate narratives and emotional experiences.

Elena completed a degree in studio art at York University, Toronto, in 2006, and then spent a decade winding her way through odd jobs, a Masters in occupational therapy, interrupted briefly by a surprise baby, followed immediately by a hop across the Atlantic to Bonn, Germany, then York, en route to illustration.

“Some former professors asked me to illustrate a paediatric assessment and suddenly, everything made sense,” she says. “I now work as a freelance illustrator and maker of zines and collages.  My work is often autobiographical, depicting women and children to explore personal and social issues and uncover wonder and magic in the ordinary.”

“My work is often autobiographical, depicting women and children to explore personal and social issues,” says Elena

​Elena, settled into York with her German economist husband, Achim, and their two children, sells original artworks, prints and zines through Elena’s Treehouse. “I can be found most days nestled in a nook, manifesting a rainbow tornado of paper snippets, or making equally impressive messes with my small protégés,” she says.

On May 17 and 18, she took part in York Theatre Royal’s reopening brace of Love Bites performances, collaborating with composer and singer James Cave and writer Bethan Ellis on the five-minute musical theatre piece Magic, inspired by a lockdown poem by Elena, who made a miniature paper theatre that re-created her allotment and was operated by her on stage.

Elena “seeks to find magic and uncover meaning in the mundane”. “York is a beautiful city, which in many ways makes it easier to find magic,” she says. “There are snickelways that look straight out of Tolkien, and crumbling walls, climbing with vines, straight from The Secret Garden!”

Emma Crockatt’s works are works full of brightly coloured animals, flowers and seasons

Emma Crockatt, painting, The Drey Studio, 16a Heslington Road, York

INSPIRED by nature, patterns and objects, Emma moves between painting, collage and drawing and now she is exploring textiles and print too. 

Emma moved to London in 2006 to study History of Art at Goldsmiths, progressing to an MA in Illustration at Camberwell College of Art.

Emma Crockatt at work

In 2017, she returned to York, where she makes works full of brightly coloured animals, flowers and seasons, taking pleasure in her everyday surroundings.

Kitty Greenbrown and Peter Roman, multi-media, Arts Barge, Foss Basin, York. July 17 and 18 only

SPOKEN-WORD poet Kitty (or Katie) Greenbrown and artist Peter Roman collaborate to deliver multi-media storytelling pieces, such as Magpie Bridge for Stockton Arc, marking the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, and Green In Our Memory for City of York Council’s First World War commemorations.

Rust was premiered on the River Ouse at the 2019 Great Yorkshire Fringe, when presented  in collaboration with York Theatre Royal and Arts Barge. Proving Rust never sleeps, it returns on the second weekend of York Open Studios for screenings 10.30am, 1pm and 3pm.

Artwork for Kitty Greenbrown and Peter Roman’s Rust

“Rust takes us back to when the Ouse teemed with working barges, you knew your place or else and jazz was the devil itself,” says Kitty, who introduces herself as a “performance poet with an incurable appetite for playing with language”.

“I have a huge interest in creating multi-media, immersive storytelling experiences that stretch the bounds of what poetry can be. I’ve been performing live and making film-poems with musicians, artists and filmmakers since 2016. Collaboration is big part of what interests me.”

Kitty adds: “For me, it’s always been about telling stories. I went on a camping holiday to Brittany when I was about eight and it tipped it down with rain. Every day.

Peter Roman and Kitty Greenbrown

“There were loads of bitey insects and the toothpaste tasted weird. My mum burnt a hole in the roof of the tent too, with the camping stove. On the first night.

​“I lay on a camp bed, which was standing in a couple of inches of water, and copied out every word of a Famous Five book into a jotter with squared paper. You’ll find the jotters always have squared paper in France. Then I got bored and started writing my own stuff. I’ve never really stopped.”

​For Love Bites at York Theatre Royal in May, Kitty combined with ​fellow artist-producers Robert Powell and Ben Pugh to present The Angels Of Lendal Bridge.

Gypsy Moth, print, by Carrie Lyall

Carrie Lyall, printmaking, 2a, Riccall Grange, King Rudding Lane, Riccall

SELF-TAUGHT printmaker Carrie runs the Rose & Hen business, selling her linocut prints, illustrations and handmade books inspired by nature. Using botanical themes, she creates delicate silhouettes and patterns in contrasting colours, employing pigment-rich, 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.

Carrie Lyall: Creates delicate silhouettes and patterns in contrasting colours

“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 (roseandhen.etsy.com). She will be demonstrating her printmaking skills at 11am and 3pm each day over the two weekends.

“I speak through robotic figures and grotesque forms to communicate provocative messages,” says Kevin McNulty

Kevin McNulty, neo-expressive mono prints smeared with social commentary, spray paint and oil stick, 39 Maple Avenue, Bishopthorpe, York

KEVIN describes himself as a compulsive printmaker, who explores themes such as identity and the human condition in his bold limited-edition prints.

“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.

Influenced by Neo-Expressionism, Surrealism, Einstein and his grandad’s Bedford Rascal van, he mixes stencilled layers, automatic mark making and spontaneous hand-drawn images in his creativity.

“Compulsive” printmaker Kevin McNulty

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”.

“Using both images and words, I speak through robotic figures and grotesque forms to communicate provocative messages,” he says of his explorations of social and political issues through the eyes of a six-year-old boy.

“Supported by a graphic primitivism, I present unfiltered ideas and emotion by blending naïve child-like expression with a mature consciousness to tackle contemporary issues and to gain a better understanding of the world.” Find his work at kevinmcnultyprints.com.

Tomorrow: Pennie Lordan; Lincoln Lighfoot; Amy Stubbs; Jilly Lovett; Elliot Harrison and Nicola Lee.

York Printmakers make their mark in online summer exhibition run by Pyramid Gallery

Jane Duke: One of more than 20 York Printmakers members on show online

YORK Printmakers are taking part in an online exhibition put together by Terry Brett for Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York.

More than 20 members of the association have submitted work for a show that will run until September 6, with more works being added daily.

On show at pyramidgallery.com are works by Carrie Lyall; Jane Dignum; Emily Harvey; Judith Pollock; Charlotte Willoughby-Paul; Lucie Ware; Michelle Hughes; Bridget Hunt; Chrissie Dell; Jane Duke; Sally Clarke and Jo Ruth.

See, linocut print, by Lucie Ware

Exhibiting too are Marc Godfrey-Murphy; Lyn Bailey; Lesley Shaw; Russell Hughes; Gill Douglas; Shaun Wyatt; Janice Simpson; Adi French; Greg Winrow; Sally Parkin and Patricia Ruddle.

“As a response to the Covid-19 social-distancing measures, Pyramid Gallery is open only to one person or group at a time,” says Terry, the gallery’s owner and curator.

“So, here is the show, for you, from the comfort of your sofa and laptop, or mobile device. Oh, how things have changed, and so much technology has been developed and embraced!”

Carrie Lyall at work in her studio

Putting his salesman’s hat on, Terry says: “Here’s the thing…if you enjoy looking at pictures on a screen, do you need them on your wall? Of course you do!

“On the screen, you can only properly see one at a time. There’s no creative effort on your part, so you cannot feel part of the creative process that is art. When you position pictures on the wall, however, you’re engaging with the space – your space – and the artwork.

“You’re creating a new artwork from those two elements. You are the artist, just as much as the creator of the artwork you have purchased and the designer of the building. You are not merely a purchaser of someone else’s work, but are a fundamental part of the creative community that creates art.

Beach Huts, Mudeford, linocut print, by Marc Godrey-Murphy

“Artists need you. You give affirmation of their artistic endeavour. You inspire them to create more art. You enable them to be artists. The art is not complete until it has been chosen and arranged in its space.”

For this show, the gallery commission is reduced. “That means the artists can either sell at a lower price or receive a bigger payment for work sold,” says Terry. “The artists will deliver or send the items as they are sold.

“Pyramid Gallery will promote the artists via our newsletter, website and social media all through the rest of summer.”

Wind Whispers, collagraph print, by Sally Clarke

Terry adds: “Although we will not be displaying the work in the gallery, we would love to know how you display the work when you place it in your house. Please send us pictures and we’ll put those online as well.”

Founded in 2015, York Printmakers are a diverse group of printmakers with a passion for print and a shared love of meeting each month at The Knavesmire pub, in Albemarle Road. 

Members use a variety of printmaking techniques, such as lino and wood cuts, collagraphs, screen printing and etching, to produce original limited-edition prints, covering a wide range of subject matter, with styles varying from illustrative to abstract.

In a closing message to art lovers, Terry, the Pyramid Gallery team and “all the wonderful artists in York” say: “We are all in this Corona thing together. Hopefully, art and creativity can help us all through.”

York FC Crowd, linoprint, by Shaun Wyatt

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

A screen-print collage by Kevin McNulty

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: Her ceramics mirror the seasons

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.

Jill Ford at work in her studio

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.

Cafe scene: a documentary-style photograph by Danny Knight

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.”

Danny Knight: “Capturing the everyday moments in two amazing cities”, York and New York

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 info@dannyknightphotography.co.uk.

Honesty, linocut, by Carrie Lyall

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.

Carrie Lyall: Connecting with nature in her art…and her clothes

“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

Between You And Me And The Gate Post, needle felting, by Alison Spaven

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 Spaven: hare today, gone today, when her work sells!

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.

Compulsive printmaker Kevin McNulty

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.

Millennium Bridge, York, by Kevin McNulty

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.