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

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.

Fiona Kemp: Depicting northern cities

Fiona Kemp, painting

FIONA’S paintings and prints depict northern cities, wherein she finds unusual perspectives and uses reflections as a device to encourage viewers to reassess their surroundings.

“I’m interested in the decay and renewal of urban spaces,” says Fiona, who employs diverse media, such as watercolour, acrylic, lino-print and etching.

“My work records the changing face of the city environment: the demolition, the re-building, the restoration and the altered skylines. I’m fascinated by the transient moments where reflections shimmer and fracture in the windows, puddles and canals.”

York Minster Reflections, by Fiona Kemp

She continues: “The distortions and blurring created in this way create a mysterious and unusual view of these everyday scenes. At dusk, the scene transforms into an explosion of lights and colour.”

Fiona studied fine art in Sheffield, later gaining an MA in printmaking from Bradford College, and has exhibited at Saltaire Open Houses, Bradford Industrial Museum, Sheffield University and Tokarska Gallery, London.  Since moving to York, she has started a series of paintings of the city that would have featured in her York Open Studios debut. Find out more at

Almond Tree, by Chris Whittaker

Chris Whittaker, painting

CHRIS is a polymath: artist, poet, writer, cartoonist and former art lecturer, who managed further education colleges in Cheshire and Yorkshire.

Once the head of the School of Design in Scarborough, he started painting in earnest after he retired. Now he paints in the mountains of southern Spain, where he has a house in a remote village, and draws in studios in York, where he is a member of several drawing groups. He spends roughly half his year in each place.

He favours using a wide range of media in his drawings of rural landscapes, personalised still lives and scenes of York and Spain, his art marked by a bold and fluid style.

Chris Whittaker: Started painting in earnest once he retired

Chris, who trained at Manchester School of Art in the 1960s and later attended university in London and Leeds, says: “For me, drawing is a focus, a way of looking at the world so as to translate a confusing array of surfaces into marks on paper.

“Other artists remark that I look as if I am ‘fencing the canvas’. Working on a large drawing or painting is certainly an intense experience and quite physical. Even after all my years of experience, an evening’s drawing will leave me drained, triumphant or disappointed.”

2020 would have been his first year as a York Open Studios artist. Take a look at instead.

An abstract geometric piece of jewellery by Laura Masheder

Laura Masheder, jewellery

LAURA trained originally as a classical singer, attending Leeds College of Music, and left to raise a family and work in catering management for a decade.

On rekindling her creative ambitions, she studied an Access to Higher Education course in art and design, leading to her degree studies in contemporary craft at York College, where she is in her final year.

Laura Masheder in her studio

In her hand-crafted hallmarked silver jewellery, she specialises in chasing and repoussé techniques, while also experimenting with wax casting and silver clay.

Her jewellery is a mix of figurative nature studies and abstract geometric pieces, as can be seen at

Henry Steele relies on his eye to give a sense of aesthetic in his ceramics

Henry Steele, ceramics

A DIAGNOSIS of autism gives Henry an unusual vision of the world around him. From an early age, he refused to conform to numerical concepts. Instead, he relies on his eye to give a sense of aesthetic.

In his art, he uses mixed media, focusing primarily on ceramics. “I’m particularly interested in ancient manufacturing techniques that favour sustainable methods and I often employ discarded items as tools for decoration,” he says.

Henry Steele: “Often employs discarded items as tools for decoration “

Through his work, Henry questions the traditional boundaries of historic styles and fashions, with the intention of prompting the viewer to say to themselves “what if”, “why not” or even “that’s impossible because”. 

Like fellow student Laura Masheder, 2020 was to have been his York Open Studios debut. Contact him via

Chunky ceramics: The work of Sarah Papps

Sarah Papps, ceramics

SARAH is in the final year of a contemporary craft degree, where her primary focus has been on experimenting with form and colour.

In her York Open Studios debut, she would have been exhibiting hand-built and wheel-thrown chunky pots and tableware.

Sarah Papps at the wheel

By compressing and manipulating the clay, her work takes on an identity of its own, producing a contrast of swirling bright colour against the depth of clay. Visit

TOMORROW: Kate Buckley; Kay Dower; Claire Morris; Emma Whitelock and Peter Donohoe.