Who are the NEW artists in 2021’s York Open Studios? Meet another six of the best

One of Sarah Cornwall’s “chunky” ceramics

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.

From a chrysalis to a butterfly: Caroline Utterson’s textile work in progress

Caroline Utterson, textiles, Southbank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, 97 Bishopthorpe Road, York

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 Manchester Metropolitan 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.

Caroline Utterson: Inspired by animals, nature, her northern roots and love of travel and photography

“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 and vintage fabrics in my work.

“Having worked as a seamstress for four years, I collected and saved hoards of fabric from going into landfill and I love nothing more than breathing new life into these discarded ‘scraps’.”

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.

A Batik piece by Rebecca Mason

Rebecca Mason, textiles, Southbank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, 97 Bishopthorpe Road, York

REBECCA specialises in batik, a dye-resist technique using wax that she utilises to make silk scarves, ties, brooches, framed pictures, cards and wall hangings, applying both traditional Indonesian and modern methods.

She first became inspired by batik more than 30 years ago in Malaysia. Subsequently she attended batik workshops and evening classes to learn the techniques.

“I love to be creative with colour and the freedom of abstract designs, and I particularly enjoy the fluidity, flexibility, unpredictability and crackle effect of the wax,” says Rebecca, who is influenced and inspired by the shapes and hues of the Yorkshire countryside and the changing seasons.

“I love to be creative with colour and the freedom of abstract designs,” says Rebecca Mason

She specialises in doing batik on cotton and silk, including velour. “My ties and scarves are each uniquely designed, and my cotton pictures are varied in theme and use a range of batik techniques.”

Rebecca will be one of seven artists taking part in York Open Studios at Southbank Methodist Church, along with Nicola Lee, Caroline Utterson, Colin Black, Donna Maria Taylor, Carolyn Coles and Karen Winship. Between them, they specialise in batik, seascapes, landscapes, paintings, textiles, mixed media, collage, work on paper, acrylics and embroidery.

Should you be wondering, the word ‘batik’ originates from the Javanese ‘tik’ and means ‘to dot’. To make a batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original colour.

Henry Steele: “Relies on his eye to give a sense of aesthetic”

Henry Steele, ceramics, Millthorpe School, Nunthorpe Avenue, York

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.

Sarah Cornwall at the wheel

Sarah Cornwall, ceramics, Millthorpe School, Nunthorpe Avenue, York 

SARAH makes hand-built and wheel thrown ceramics in the form of chunky pots and tableware.

At present studying in the final year of a Contemporary Craft degree, she focuses on experimenting with form and colour. 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.

A piece of silver jewellery by Laura Masheder

Laura Masheder, silver jewellery, Millthorpe School, Nunthorpe Avenue, York

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

On rekindling her creative ambitions, she studied for an Access to Higher Education course in art and design, leading to her degree studies in Contemporary Craft at York College, from where she graduated with first class honours in 2020.

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 boochica.com.

Silva Rerum jewellery by Fiona Hirst

Silva Rerum (Fiona Hirst), jewellery, Millthorpe School, Nunthorpe Avenue, York

INFLUENCED by travel, anthropology and history, Fiona uses traditional silver and goldsmithing techniques, combined with digital technology.

As with many contemporary jewellers, she has a background in fine art and textiles. Several years ago, she decided to complete a second degree, specialising on mixed media and jewellery techniques. At the same time, she completed a P.G.C.E. and now teaches art, design and media.

Fiona’s designs are strong and modern, sometimes with a narrative element, and at present she is developing a collection based on inspirational women throughout history.

Fiona Hirst: Influenced by travel, anthropology and history

TOMORROW: Mick Leach, Pietro Sanna, Charlotte Dawson, Caroline Lewis, Lucie Wake and Pamela Thorby.

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

Closed doors, but open windows: the way forward for York Open Studios 2020

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.

Cushions by Rosie Waring

Rosie Waring, textiles

ROSIE creates handwoven textiles using fine yarns and intricate patterns to produce interior products for the home and personal accessories with a natural colour palette.

She specialised in handwoven textiles for fashion and interiors in her studies at Bath Spa University, graduating in 2013, since when she has made handwoven cushions, lampshades and other small woven items.

Rosie often takes her inspiration for colour, texture and structure from nature and her surroundings: the rich and varied Yorkshire landscapes of the dales, the North York Moors and the coastline.

“Weaving in fine cotton yarns and moving into my wool collection, I create vibrant fabrics to brighten up the home, bringing the outside inside,” she says. 

” I create vibrant fabrics to brighten up the home, bringing the outside inside,” says Rosie Waring

Rosie knew early on that her strength was working with colour. “When I discovered weaving during my studies, I saw the potential to work directly with colour on the loom,” she says. “I found I could express myself through colour and texture, creating cloth from the individual yarns.”

She is interested in how weaving can affect mental health positively and has studied its benefits on mood and a general sense of well-being.

As well as York Open Studios, she has exhibited at Art In The Pen, Danby Christmas Market and the summertime York River Art Market. Find out more at rosiewaring.co.uk.

A mixed-media work by Colin Black

Colin Black, mixed media

COLIN’S mixed-media work has varied from a series focusing on York Minster at night to national identity and the refugee crisis.

He describes his art as being primarily landscape based, always enjoying the use of colour to convey mood.

His last two exhibitions used the landscape motif in very different ways. The first, Imagined Landscapes, conveyed a seemingly idyllic beauty; the second, We Have Chosen A One-Way Road, saw landscape as “a place across which refugees made their escape and away from the place they called home”.

Colin Black: Moved to York in 2018 to set up Seek Art School

“The work was about borders, boundaries and restrictions,” says Colin. “They were a response to Britain’s dilemma about Brexit, hard or soft, independence and interdependence, Trump’s wall. We seem to be becoming insular in our thinking as a fearful means of self-preservation. How do we square our fears of invasion with humanitarian aid?”

Colin studied visual communication at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London and taught for many years in further education in London and Edinburgh.

In 2018, he moved to York to set up Seek Art School, in Haxby Road, to teach  people “the fundamentals of looking and the development of your own visual voice through personal ideas”. Courses include day and evening classes and Saturday workshops.

Discover more via colin@seekartschool.co.uk.

Apothecary Jar, graphite on newsprint, by Nicola Lee

Nicola Lee, drawing

NICOLA’S work on paper combines drawing, folding and photography.

“My visual interest lies beyond the object,” she says. “I’m drawn to line, pattern and shape occurring in peripheral space. A space that is fluid, ambiguous and lacking in definition. A space in which the peripheral becomes the object.

“My work uses photography, drawing and folding to record and respond to my observations of this suggestive space. I use process and material to play with ideas of repetition, reduction and abstraction in order to explore my encounter with the space in between.”  

Nicola Lee: “Encounters with the space in between “

Nicola studied art and design at York St John University, then gained an MA in textiles at Huddersfield University and now an MA in creative practice from Leeds Arts University.

She is enjoying being part of the South Bank Studios community; this year would have marked her York Open Studios debut. Head to ofsorts.space for more info.

Elephant Festival Fun, by Rebecca Mason

Rebecca Mason, textiles

FIRST inspired by Batik while in Malaysia, Rebecca has practised Batik art for more than 30 years.

Since attending workshops and evening classes to learn the dye-resist technique that uses wax, she has made silk scarves, ties, framed pictures, brooches, cards and wall hangings, using both traditional Indonesian and modern methods.

“I specialise in doing Batik on cotton and silk, including velour, and I particularly enjoy the fluidity, flexibility, unpredictability and crackle effect of the wax,” says Rebecca.

Batik artist Rebecca Mason in her studio

“I also love to be creative with colour and the freedom of abstract designs. Much of my Batik is influenced and inspired by the shapes and hues of the Yorkshire countryside and by the changing seasons too.

“My cotton pictures are varied in design and theme and use a range of Batik techniques, and I also make Batik ties and scarves that are each uniquely designed.”

Rebecca, who would have been a York Open Studios 2020 debutante, sells her work by appointment from her studio and at Simon Main’s Village Gallery, in Colliergate, York. She has exhibited too at York River Art Market and South Bank Studios and welcomes special commissions. Take a look at batik-art.co.uk.

Clifford’s Tower, York, by Donna Maria Taylor

Donna Maria Taylor, mixed media

DONNA’S website, donnamariataylor.com, introduces her as designer, maker, teacher, with more than 25 years’ experience of working in the arts.

Her mixed-media work spans a range of disciplines, all inspired by the world around her, and although her York Open Studios show has been cancelled, she has upcoming exhibitions in the diary at Osbornes at 68 Gillygate, from August to October, and Angel On The Green, Bishopthorpe Road, from November 3 to December 15.

Donna Maria Taylor: designer, maker, teacher

In the theatre world, Yorkshire-born Donna has designed shows, painted scenery and made props and costumes for many companies, including York Theatre Royal, the Grand Opera House, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and the York Mystery Plays in York Minster, West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, English Touring Theatre, Sheffield Theatres, Hull Truck Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

She is an adult education senior tutor and observer for York Learning and is involved regularly in community art projects at York community centres, children’s centres, schools, church halls and a prison.

She has taught in a wide variety of settings, such as York Art Gallery, Explore York libraries and York museums, as well as at colleges and universities, and runs workshops and art holidays, although these have been postponed until further notice during the Covid-19 pandemic.

To find out more, go to donnamariataylor.com.

TOMORROW: Caroline Utterson; Marcus Jacka; Ruth King; Elaine Hughes and Mick Leach.