AFTER ceramics, jewellery, paintings, collage, films and textiles, now the artists at PICA Studios are branching out into one-off postcards for one weekend only.
More than 20 creatives share the workshop space, in Grape Lane, York, that is rarely open to the public, except for the annual York Open Studios.
However, on Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 4pm, PICA Studios will play host to a special Postcard Show and Sale of original artworks made by studio members.
PICA artist Lesley Birch says: “I successfully launched a postcard project during lockdown and so we’ve decided to follow that format this weekend. A postcard is small, affordable and original, and as we only have a small space to display them, we felt this would work well for our first collaborative show in the foyer outside of York Open Studios.”
Each postcard will sell for £25 to raise funds towards improving the studio space and to create a gallery in the foyer at PICA, where the studios opened in February 2017.
For jewellery designer Evie Leach, the postcard project has helped push her creative practice. “It’s taken me in other directions to make a series of artworks on paper inspired by my jewellery designs. This is what a studio is all about: inspiring and innovating members to go beyond their comfort zone.”
Fellow founding member Emily Stubbs says: “This is the first time we have collaborated with so many of us producing work just for the studio. It’s a bonding experience and we’re looking forward to it very much.”
Joining Lesley, Evie and Emily in the postcard show will be Katrina Mansfield, Ealish Wilson, Sarah Jackson, Ric Liptrot, Jo Edmonds, Lisa Power, Amy Stubbs, Mick Leach, Rae George, Lesley Shaw Lu Mason and Kitty Pennybacker, with more still to come.
The £25 postcards can bought in person at PICA or online through Instagram, where “you can spot the one you want” at instagram@picastudios.
One final thought: in an age when a postcard dropping through the door is increasingly rare, how does such an occurrence make Lesley Birch feel? “Receiving a postcard is absolutely lovely,” she says. “All the smudges from the postmark, the date and the handwriting make it a piece of history. It’s the good old days of snail mail.”
Now comes a repurposing of a postcard with the stamp of art to each one.
LOCKDOWN 3 plods on with no end in sight deep amid the winter chill, drawing Charles Hutchinson’s gaze to online events, a writing opportunity and the promise of live entertainment somewhere down the line.
Online lockdown exhibition at the double: Emily Stubbs and Lesley Birch, Muted Worlds, for Pyramid Gallery, York
CERAMICIST Emily Stubbs and artist Lesley Birch have teamed up for Muted Worlds, a lockdown exhibition of pots and paintings that has begun as a digital show from their studios before moving to Terry Bretts’s gallery in Stonegate, once Lockdown 3 strictures are eased.
“This is a show with a more muted edge,” say Emily and Lesley. “Winter is here and with it, Covid, and another lockdown, so we feel the need for simplicity. We have collaborated to produce monochrome pieces inspired by the winter season.”
Looking ahead, Emily will be taking part in York Open Studios this summer, showing her ceramics at 51 Balmoral Terrace.
Creative project of the winter season: Friends of Rowntree Park’s Words From A Bench project
THE Friends of Rowntree Park invite you to join the Words From A Bench project by submitting a short story or poem based around themes of the York park, the outdoors, nature and escape.
No more than 1,000 words in length, the works will be displayed in the park. Adults and children alike should send entries by February 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gigs on the move: Pocklington Arts Centre re-writing 2021 diary
POCKLINGTON Arts Centre is re-scheduling concerts aplenty in response to the relentless grip of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Irish chanteuse Mary Coughlan’s April 23 show is being moved to October 19; the Women In Rock tribute show, from May 21 to October 29; New York singer-songwriter Jesse Malin, from February 2 to December 7, and Welsh singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph, from February 12 to December 2. Tickets remain valid for the rearranged dates.
A new date is yet to be arranged for the postponed February 23 gig by The Delines, Willy Vlautin’s country soul band from Portland, Oregon. Watch this space.
Early notice of online Early Music Day at National Centre for Early Music, York, March 21
THE Gesualdo Six will lead the NCEM’s celebrations for Early Music Day 2021 on March 21 by embarking on an online whistle-stop musical tour of York.
The Cambridge vocal consort’s concert will be a streamed at 3pm as part of a day when musical organisations throughout Europe will come together for a joyful programme of events to mark JS Bach’s birthday.
During their residency, The Gesualdo Six will spend almost a week in York performing in a variety of locations on a musical tour of the city that will be filmed and shared in March.
Better late than never: York Open Studios, switching from spring to summer
CELEBRATING the 20th anniversary of Britain’s longest-running open studios, York’s artists are determined to go ahead with York Open Studios 2021, especially after a barren year in 2020, when doors had to stay shut in Lockdown 1.
Consequently, the organisers are switching the two weekends from April 17/18 and 24/25 to July 10/11 and July 17/18, when more than 140 artists and makers will show and sell their work within their homes and workspaces in an opportunity for art lovers and the curious to “enjoy fresh air, meet artists and view and buy unique arts and crafts from York’s very best artisans”.
Planning ahead for next year, part one: Midge Ure & Band Electronica, Grand Opera House, York
MIDGE Ure & Band Electronica will open next year’s Voice & Visions Tour at the Grand Opera House, York, on February 22, when the 67-year-old Scotsman will be marking 40 years since the release of Ultravox’s Rage In Eden and Quartet albums in September 1981 and October 1982 respectively.
Ure & Band Electronica last played the Opera House in October 2019 on The 1980 Tour, when Ultravox’s 1980 album, Vienna, was performed in its entirety for the first time in four decades, complemented by highlights from Visage’s debut album, as Ure recalled the year when he co-wrote, recorded and produced the two future-sounding records.
Planning ahead for next year, part two: Tommy Emmanuel at Grand Opera House, York
AUSTRALIAN guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, 65, will play the Grand Opera House, York, on March 6 2022 in the only Yorkshire show of next year’s12-date tour with special guest Jerry Douglas, the Ohio dobro master.
At 44, Emmanuel became one of only five musicians to be named a Certified Guitar Player by his idol, Chet Atkins. Playing fingerstyle, he frequently threads three different guitar parts simultaneously into his material, handling melody, supporting chords and bass all at once.
Online concert series of the season: Steven Devine, Bach Bites, National Centre for Early Music, York, Fridays
EVERY Friday at 1pm, until March 19, harpsichordist Steven Devine is working his way through J S Bach’s Fugues and Preludes in his online concert series. Find it on the NCEM’s Facebook stream.
And what about?
STAYING in, staying home, means TV viewing aplenty. Tuck into the French film talent agency frolics and frictions of Call My Agent! on Netflix and Scottish procedural drama Traces on the Beeb; be disappointed by Finding Alice on ITV.
EMILY Stubbs and Lesley Birch are teaming up for Muted Worlds, a lockdown exhibition launched tomorrow by Pyramid Gallery, York.
Pots & Paintings will begin as a digital show from the York artists’ studios before moving to the Stonegate gallery once Lockdown 3 strictures are eased.
“We’re delighted to have been invited by Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett once again to create another Pots & Paintings show for 2021,” say exhibition curators Emily and Lesley.
“This time we shall be online and it’s a more muted edge – winter is here and with it, Covid, and another lockdown – so we feel the need for simplicity. We have collaborated to produce monochrome pieces inspired by the winter season.”
Terry says: “Expect exciting expressive mark-making, beautiful soft greys, earths, charcoals and sage greens with occasional pops of colour in winter landscape and abstract pieces with the forms and lines of the natural world.”
Emily works from Pica Studios, in Grape Lane, where she creates contemporary ceramic vessels that explore the relationship between colour, form and texture.
Fascinated by the juxtaposition of contrasting elements in her work, Emily makes conversations between vessels by placing them together or in groups.
Constantly sketching, drawing and collaging to experiment with line, colour, texture and mark making, Emily translates this process into clay, building up layers of ceramic slips, glazes and stains.
“Stepping away from my usual brightly coloured glazes, Muted Worlds has allowed me to really focus and concentrate on creating rich layers of mark making,” she says.
“Bold brush strokes, blocks of monochrome and areas of scraffito, inspired by the wintery walks around York through lockdown, feature in a new collection of vessels created alongside and inspired by Lesley’s paintings.”
Scottish-born painter and printmaker Lesley interprets feelings and emotions connected to time and place in her works. Calligraphic scribbles and expressive, sweeping brush marks flow on paper and canvas, straddling the boundary between abstraction and figuration.
“The fact that certain combinations of colours, certain marks and movements can convey an atmosphere, that is the joy of painting for me: that exciting moment when materiality and emotion meet,” she says.
The Pots & Paintings go on sale from tomorrow and purchases will be delivered by courier or by the artist if the buyer is in York. Anyone needing further information can contact Terry on 07805 029254.
Looking ahead, Emily will be taking part in the 2021 York Open Studios, showing her ceramics at 51 Balmoral Terrace, York, on April 17, 18, 24 and 25, from 10am to 5pm.
Exhibiting there too will be textiles artist Amy Stubbs, making her Open Studios debut after relocating to York.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gail Fox, collage
AN artist for more than
40 years, London-born Gail co-founded York Open Studios in 2002 with Anne
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
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.
“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 gailfox.co.uk.
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.”
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 janeatkinjewellery.com.
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, amystubbs.com, will be “coming
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.
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 email@example.com
to learn more.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOMORROW: Rosie Waring; Colin Black; Nicola Lee; Rebecca Mason and Donna Maria Taylor.