Furniture maker Richard Frost, sculptor Jenny Chan and artist Jane Burgess exhibit under one roof at Blossom Steet Gallery

Richard Frost: Furniture maker and Tutankhamun enthusiast

BLOSSOM Street Gallery, in York, is playing host to an autumn triple bill of exhibitions until November 30.

Taking part are York furniture designer and cabinet maker Richard Frost, celebrating the centenary of Tutankhamun’s discovery; ceramic sculptor Jenny Chan, showcasing her Wise Woman, and painter Jane Burgess, presenting her In Southern Climes watercolours and oils.

Richard’s exhibition comprises pieces of fine furniture inspired by his fascination with ancient Egypt, alongside a number of smaller items, in the culmination to 18 months’ work, including the study of ancient Egyptian artefacts and architecture.

“On November 4 1922, excavators led by Egyptologist Howard Carter uncovered
the tomb of Tutankhamun,” says Richard. “When asked what he saw, he replied, ‘wonderful things’. This exhibition is my tribute to the beauty and elegance of ancient Egypt that he revealed.”

The poster for Richard Forst Design’s exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery

Items exhibited by Richard Frost Design include drinks cabinet inspired by
hieroglyphics, a hat stand and wall cabinets prompted by a study of the lotus

Richard says: “Working from my workshop in York, I produce bespoke and limited-edition handcrafted furniture, household goods and gifts. With no single definitive style, I take my inspiration from both the natural world and our industrial heritage. My portfolio includes pieces with a traditional feel and those with more of a contemporary look. At all times, my objective is to produce an exquisite piece of furniture.”

Born in Hong Kong, Jenny Chan spent much of her childhood on the small island of Nauru without the distractions of a television set and not even a radio. Instead, she explored her environment and loved to tinker from an early age. 

She started sculpting in 2017, completely unsure of her capabilities after being a housewife for 16 years. “Despite being ‘confidence zero’, I started to create ceramics sculptures, which I found peaceful and fulfilling, the ideal distraction for relieving anxiety and isolation as a new immigrant in the UK,” she says.

Ceramic sculptor Jenny Chan: “Heeding the words of the Wise Woman”

Applying meticulous and reflective craftsmanship, she makes expressive figurative sculptures, each one with its own story.  “I find inspiration from the integrity and honesty within people, the vitality, healing and peace,” says Jenny, whose work is intriguingly detailed and touched by her Chinese origins. Her exhibition may continue after November 30, with no closing date set.

Jane Burgess was born in 1948 in Cheshire, where she developed a love of landscape and an interest in drawing and painting from an early age.

“I was influenced greatly by my father, Morgan Hewinson, who was an artist and lecturer at Manchester College of Art,” she says. “He encouraged my enthusiasm for visual art.

“One time, when I wanted to do silk-screen printing, he converted my mum’s tea trolley into a press! Sometimes we went out sketching in the countryside or at slum-clearance and bomb sites in Stockport and Manchester.”

Jenny Chan’s Wise Woman sculptures, Richard Frost’s furniture designs and a Jane Burgess painting on show at Blossom Street Gallery, York

Jane is still fascinated by tangled vegetation, broken fences and dilapidated buildings. “My work sometimes invites the viewer to see beauty in unexpected subjects,” she says.

While at school, she attended Saturday morning classes for sixth-form students at Manchester College of Art, going on to study on a foundation course in Leicester and to gain a BA Hons in art and design at Maidstone College of Art.

After two years of working and travelling in North Africa, the Middle East and India, Jane moved to Huddersfield in 1974 and raised a family. “I started painting in earnest again in the Eighties,” she says. “I work in a variety of media – mostly watercolours and oils – and would describe myself as a tonal and figurative painter.

“Watercolour appeals to me because of its immediacy of use and the luminosity of its colours. With oils, I often paint en plein air, completing a work in one session or creating a piece that I then finish in the studio.”

Jane Burgess’s poster for her In Southern Climes exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery

Jane paints subjects in West Yorkshire, other parts of the UK and abroad. “I’m particularly interested in the effects of light in the landscape and carry a camera everywhere, using photography both as a means of recording and to experiment with composition,” she says.

“Having been an adult education teacher of drawing and painting, I now go out to paint regularly with a group made up largely of my ex-students.”

Jane is an elected member of two professional bodies: Manchester Academy of Fine Arts (MAFA) and Leeds Fine Artists (LFA). “My work has been exhibited widely in solo and joint shows, and many of my pieces are held in public and private collections in the UK, France, Sweden and Spain,” she says.

Blossom Street Gallery opening hours are 12 noon to 4pm, Thursdays (but closed this Thursday); 10am to 4pm, Fridays and Saturdays; 10am to 3pm, Sundays; closed, Monday to Wednesday.

Who are the 30 new artists and makers in York Open Studios? Meet the next six here

A painting by Carol Douglas, to be found at 55 Albemarle Road, York

YORK Open Studios returns to its traditional spring slot for the next two weekends after last year’s temporary Covid-enforced detour to July.

More than 150 artists and makers will be showing and selling their work within their homes and workspaces, giving visitors an opportunity to view and buy “bespoke pieces to suit every budget”, from 10am to 5pm on April 2,3, 9 and 10, preceded by a 6pm to 9pm preview on April 1. 

As ever, the range of artists’ work encompasses painting and print, illustration, drawing and mixed media, ceramics, glass and sculpture, jewellery, textiles, photography and installation art. Check out the artists’ directory listings at to find out who is participating and who will be opening up early for the preview.

CharlesHutchPress will highlight the 30 newcomers in a week-long preview, in map order, that continues today with Carol Douglas, Anthea Peters, Derek Gauld, Phil Bixby, Jacqueline Warrington and Richard Frost.

Carol Douglas at work in her studio

Carol Douglas, painting, 55 Albemarle Road, York

CAROL paints primarily in acrylic on canvas, adding oil pastel and fabric collage to some works. Her box canvasses are mostly unframed.

Carol completed her full-time foundation diploma in art and design in 2018, realising an ambition held since she was 16. Now, at 70, she has exhibited at Partisan café, in Micklegate, and According To McGee, in Tower Street, York, and Dean Clough Art Gallery, in Halifax, and is promoted by Broth Art, an on-line London gallery.

Jewellery designer Anthea Peters

Anthea Peters, jewellery, 6 Middlethorpe Drive, Dringhouses, York

ANTHEA creates wearable pieces of jewellery in silver and gold, complemented with copper accents, gemstones and enamel.

Her jewellery is inspired by the wild and unspoilt locations she frequents in her ‘day job’ as a chartered dam engineer in rugged, remote locations. Closer to home, she finds happiness in her garden and on moorland adventures with her family; exploring and studying flora and fauna for her jewellery designs. Consequently, silver toadstools adorn those designs, along with snails, flowers and ‘found’ objects.

“I’ve been making jewellery with precious metals for nearly 20 years and have made special commissions for friends and family over the years, including wedding rings; Christening bracelets; baby teething rings and for special birthdays,” says Anthea. “All my work is very personal and crafted with love, with the design developed specifically for that individual.”

Landscape printmaker Derek Gauld

Derek Gauld, landscape printmaking, 8 Middlethorpe Drive, York

DEREK creates printmaking works, both large and small, from mostly landscape sketching and painting outdoors in Yorkshire, the Lake District and Cornwall.

His distinctive style is developed from sketches, working on marks and tones through etching and printmaking techniques such as sugarlift, soft ground, aquatint and relief in the studio.

“I like the loose feel of sugarlift to begin prints,” he says. “I generally use soft ground etching for initial mark making and then build up tones from light grey to black through a process of aquatinting, which involves stopping out areas of the image and dropping into safe acid, leaving longer to create darker tones.

“I like the loose feel of sugarlift to begin prints,” says Derek Gauld

“I will pull a black-and-white print after three, four or five tone checks and sometimes add accented colour to the print plate to give another impression. Colour will be added individually to each print, and prints are limited to 25.”

Derek studied printmaking at evening class for three years and has exhibited at Pyramid Gallery and Blossom Street Gallery, in York, and Scarborough Art Gallery. He is a member of York Printmakers – whose membership now runs to 40 – and West Yorkshire Print Workshop.

Phil Bixby: Architect and photographer

Phil Bixby, photography, 24 Hob Moor Terrace, York

PHIL makes black-and-white photographs, shot on 35mm film, that he develops and scans to produce high-quality inkjet prints that explore texture and lighting.

Architect Phil rediscovered film photography after a lengthy absence.  “Black-and-white photography works with the same elements of light on form but allows a level of abstraction that buildings do not,” he says.

“Being reunited with tools from the late-20th century and learning again the varied characters of different films has given me scope to explore, experiment and enjoy.”

A rural scene by Phil Bixby

Believing “we need to plan for future change”, building designer Phil runs My York Central with Helen Graham, having started working together as My Future York, and since early summer 2017 they have been coordinating the My Castle Gateway project.

As an architect, he has worked on community self-build, masterplanning and community decision-making in York and elsewhere, while spending time aplenty watching and learning about York from the saddle of a bicycle.

“To watch a piece develop as the form and shape changes during the making process is both fascinating and exciting,” says Jacqueline Warrington

Jacqueline Warrington, jewellery, 3 White House Rise, York

JACQUELINE makes precious metal jewels and silver vessels, employing traditional techniques such as raising, chasing, repousse and forging. She makes silver icons too, exploring her interest in folklore and the saints.

Jacqueline trained with a renowned jewellery designer from the age of 16, then studied silversmithing and jewellery at Bradford and Sheffield art schools. She has been working at the bench since setting up her business in 1984, designing and making her own range of jewellery and exhibiting widely across the country.

“Using the qualities of the metals and stones in their various forms makes designing each piece a challenge,” says Jacqueline. “To watch a piece develop as the form and shape changes during the making process is both fascinating and exciting.”

In 2004, she set up a teaching school that ran successfully for 16 years but now she has decided to concentrate on her own work.

Richard Frost: From civil engineer to furniture maker

Richard Frost, furniture, 36 White House Gardens, York

AFTER a 27-year career as a civil engineer, Richard took a leap of faith and changed vocation to follow his passion for all things wood.

Re-training as a cabinet designer/maker at Waters & Acland Furniture School in Cumbria, he combines the problem-solving techniques of an engineer with the creative skills of an artist to design and make furniture and decorative items.

Setting up Richard Frost Design in January 2019, he has not looked back since, producing bespoke and limited-edition handcrafted furniture, household goods and gifts, often incorporating patterns, achieved through manipulation of contrasting woods and veneers.

“With no single definitive style, I take my inspiration from both the natural world and our industrial heritage,” says Richard. “My portfolio includes pieces with a traditional feel and those with more of a contemporary look. At all times my objective is to produce an exquisite piece of furniture.”

In focus tomorrow: Toni Mayner, jewellery; Kimbal Bumstead, painting; Duncan Lomax, photography; Moira Craig, printmaking; Jo Rodwell, mixed media, and John Hollington, wood.