Thirty artists and makers to demonstrate skills at Fangfest practical arts weekend. Sunflowers to bloom for charity too

Lyn Grant creating ceramic sunflowers for Fangfest at her Fangfoss Pottery studio

SUNSHINE, sunflowers but no showers! Such are the hopes of villagers, artists, creative businesses and stall holders at Fangfoss, near Pocklington, as their annual Fangfest arts festival approaches.

Held over the weekend of September 2 and 3, from 10am to 4pm each day, the plans for Fangfest have been finalised with the promise of new attractions aplenty to complement the regulars.

Making its festival debut will be the charity sunflower trail. Residents have been asked to grow sunflowers or to be creative and make some. A winner will be chosen for the best-grown sunflower and another for the most creative sunflower, culminating in the public being asked to judge their favourite overall winner.

“A sunflower is the symbol of the Hidden Disabilities charity and any money raised will be donated to Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, a hidden disability that needs support,” says Fangfest stalwart Lyn Grant, of Fangfoss Pottery.

Shirley Davis Dew’s acrylic painting of sunflowers, for sale by silent auction for charity at Fangfest

Fangfoss artist Shirley Davis Dew has produced an acrylic painting of sunflowers for a silent auction to raise funds. Bids of £20 plus are welcome in person to Sally Murray at the Carpenters Arms pub or via DM (direct message) on their Instagram page, @carpenters_arms_fangfoss.

Fangfest Festival of Practical Arts 2023 will play host to a mixed-media pattern design workshop, run by York textile artist Rosanna Johnson. Workshops will be held at 11.30am and 2pm each day and participants will produce a piece of art to take home. Workshop tickets must be booked in advance at; search for Ros Johnson Fangfest or visit the festival’s social media pages for links.

Drop-in craft activities will take place throughout the weekend, ranging from children’s card marking and throwing a pot on the wheel to pottery painting and a collaborative mixed-media mural to name but a few.

More than 30 artists and craft workers will be demonstrating and exhibiting their work across the weekend, including woodworking, rocking horse-making, felting, painting, wire sculpture, medieval tile techniques, jewellery, peg loom-weaving and much more.

Angela Cole, from Yorkshire Willow Baskets, who will demonstrate her weaving skills by the Fangfoss village green on September 3

The York Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers will hold weaving and spinning demonstrations. Look out for Shan Williams, working on her loom to create a rug over the weekend; Orsi, from FaTuz Personal Wooden Gifts, demonstrating pyrography techniques, and Angela Cole, from Yorkshire Willow Baskets, showing her weaving skills by the village green on the Sunday.

Emma, Eve and Lily, from the Handmade In Fangfoss family of crafters, will show how they create jewellery, cards, gifts and artwork inspired by nature, birds and flowers through their polymer clay, lino printing and mixed-media techniques.

Dave Atkin, from Woodwyrm, will use an axe and a selection of knives to demonstrate spoon and bowl carving and will discuss his techniques and inspirations.

Richard Gibson, from Wolds Wire Sculpture, in Thixendale, will bring a range of his open wire sculptures for display, while also working on a piece. He will share his love of nature, wildlife and the Wolds in his work, noted for its focus on movement.

Jewellery designer Mo Burrows: Demonstrating Japanese technique of kumihimo braiding

Richard Moore, from Tanglebank Tiles, will demonstrate various stages in decorating tiles and the tools used to create designs using the Sgraffito technique. In his work, he hand-makes glazed terracotta tiles in a medieval traditional style, featuring replicas of Old English floor tiles and illustrations from 13th and 14th century manuscripts.

Contemporary jewellery designer Mo Burrows will demonstrate the Japanese technique of kumihimo braiding. In her designs, Mo uses a variety of techniques and materials, including copper work, intricate beading, kumihimo and wirework, to produce both delicate and bold pieces, and she also restyles and remodels clothing into fashion pieces.

Fangfoss designer and illustrator Laura Thompson will demonstrate watercolour techniques for beginners, encouraging you to have a go yourself, as well as leading the card-making collage workshop for children.

Rosie Glow will be working with jesmonite to show how she makes her terrazzo coasters and answer any questions on the process. She creates colourful terrazzo homewares, such as trays, candle holders and soap dishes, and also makes vegan soap bars for face and body.

Spinning at Fangfest

Pete Thompson, of Spirit Of The Wood, will display tools and raw materials to explain his process and techniques for hand-crafting sculptural turned wooden pieces, created from sections of unprocessed wood. His designs incorporate natural faults, such as knots and cracks, as part of the finished piece.

Liz Riley, of Everything Felt, will demonstrate traditional felt-making techniques, including use of colour and texture in flat felting and 3D sculpture. She creates wearable and usable artworks, defined by strong colour combinations, using hand-dyed wool, silks and yarn to make felt scarves, bags, hats, wall hangings, homewares and 3D vessels.

Anna Byelova, who creates detailed handmade bags, Motanka dolls and textile landscapes, will discuss her techniques, the history of Motanka dolls and from where she draws her creativity.

Beyond crafts, further festival attractions will be a classic car collection on the village green; a flower festival in St Martin’s Church on the theme of pantomimes; traditional fairground rides, the Stamford Bridge History Society and archery sessions, run by Erik Aaron Shooting in the Rocking House Garden.

Taking a bow: Archery at Fangfest

The Busking Spots will provide a full programme of live music featuring ukuleles, a shanty crew, young celloists and a pop choir.

Refreshments will be available all weekend, provided by Jubilee Park in Rocking House Yard and at the Carpenters Arms, where landlady Sally Murray will have a full bar as well as hosting Ainsty Ales in the car park.

“Fangfest is a fun day out for all the family, run as a village enterprise with everyone helping out in one way another,” says Lyn Grant. “Entry to the festival is free and there’s something to interest everyone, no matter their age. By supporting the festival, visitors will be helping the village celebrate everything great about creative crafts in Fangfoss and its surrounding area.”

For more information and the full line-up of exhibitors, visit Fangfest’s Instagram pages at Fangfestfestival or Facebook pages at @Fangfest.

Fangfoss designer and illustrator Laura Thompson: Hosting the card-making collage workshop for children

Fangfest celebration of arts, crafts, pots and gelato returns to Fangfoss next month

Fangfoss Pottery potter Gerry Grant demonstrating raku dunking in water

FANGFEST, the Fangfoss Festival of Practical Arts, will be held on September 3 and 4.

The event will take place from 10am to 4pm each day in the village four miles from Pocklington, co-ordinated by illustrator and designer Sarah Relf, the committee’s newest member, who trades as The Magpie’s Cabinet.

Now in its 22nd year, Fangfest was started by woodworker and carver Tony Dew, who owned the Rocking Horse Shop, in Fangfoss, until recently. He remains on the committee, alongside his wife, artist Shirely Davis Dew; Fangfoss Pottery potters Lyn and Gerry Grant; Mark Gibbins, from Jubilee Park; Sally Murray, landlady of The Carpenter’s Arms and acting treasurer; St Martins Church representative Maureen Trigg and the aforementioned Sarah.

More than 20 jewellery designers, potters, glass artists, sculptors, felters, handbag makers, painters, photographers, illustrators, printmakers, candle makers, willow weavers and wood carvers will be taking part.

Among the confirmed participants are Alec Allison (Yorkshire Orchards); Anna Byelova (handbags); Claire Bingham (chocolates); Dave Atkin (Woodwyrm); David and Jonathan Bird (Guggle & Torquith); Gwen Wilson (crafts); Heather Young (Resin Revery/knitwear) and Helen Whitehead (glass).

Making pots at Fangfest

So too are: Keith Pollitt (Taste of Yorkshire); Laura Thompson (illustrations); Lesley Peatfield (photography); Liz Riley (felt art); Mo Burrows (jewellery); Neil and Clare (Swirlz Gelato) and Pete Thompson (Spirit of the Wood).

In the line-up too will be: Richard Gibson (wire sculptures); Richard Moore (tiles); Rosie Scott-Massie (Glow Soap); Sarah Relf (illustrations); Sarah Willmott (wood crafts); Sheila Downing (Crafty Alfredo) and Steven Southcoat.

“Last year we had to reinvent ourselves as a result of the Rocking Horse Shop being sold and the land we formerly used not being available,” says Lyn.

“On top of that, the pandemic had forced us to cancel two years, and we were wondering whether to call it a day after 20-plus years. But we decided to have another go, so we went back to our roots: a more arts and crafts-based festival rather than the ‘village fete’ that Fangfest was becoming.”

The revamp was successful, says Lyn. “Everyone who was exhibiting had to demonstrate or talk about their work. Stalls were arranged down the long garden at Shirley and Tony’s (the founder of the Rocking Horse Shop) and around the village green. We had the classic cars in the middle of the green and had stalls in the churchyard too,” she explains.

Forest Craft and Play at Fangfest

“We had a scarecrow trail and put a marquee out in the pottery garden for the free children’s pottery activities. The layout and revamp worked well, so we’re doing a similar thing this year.”

Lyn and Gerry are as keen as ever to encourage participation in the arts and crafts, especially by children. “One of our first aims was to increase awareness of the arts, so this year we’ve asked Forest Craft and Play to come,” says Lyn. “They’ll be running drop-in craft activities for a small charge, while ‘Have a go on the wheel’ and ‘Paint a pot’ will be free.”

What else? “We’ve arranged for some acoustic musicians to come along and play to add some atmosphere to the event,” says Lyn. “St Martin’s Church is holding a flower festival over the weekend with the theme of Our Queen to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.

“The church will be running a slide show on the events we had in the village in 2002 to mark The Queen’s 50th jubilee. A bit of nostalgia! We’ve still got the classic cars, scarecrow trail and archery too.”

Entry to this outdoor event is free.

Who are the 30 new artists and makers in York Open Studios 2022 as it opens this weekend? Meet the final six here…

Shirley Davis Dew: Paintings inspired by a love of Yorkshire, on show at Rocking House Studio, Main Street, Fangfoss

WELCOME to day two of York Open Studios 2022 on its opening weekend.

More than 150 artists and makers are 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 today and next weekend too. 

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.

CharlesHutchPress is highlighting the 30 newcomers in a showcase all this week, in map order, concluding today with Lucinda Grange; Janine Lees; Emma Frost; Shirley Davis Dew; Laura Thompson and The Island.

Adventure photographer Lucinda Grange: Scales iconic structures and buildings to take her pictures. Picture: Tom Ackerman

Lucinda Grange, photography, The Black House, 14 Heslington Lane, York

ADVENTURE photographer Lucinda documents urban extremes; the spaces above and below the public footpaths in our cities. Her approach to photography utilises underground spaces as well as high points within a landscape.

Award-winning Lucinda, who splits her time between New York City, Zurich and North East England, has travelled the world, scaling some of the tallest and most iconic structures and buildings, such as the Great Pyramid, Firth of Forth Rail Bridge and the Chrysler Building.

“I use photography as a means of self-expression, to identify with the more obvious and hidden aspects of my character,” says Lucinda, who has exhibited at the Museum of London and the National Football Museum, Manchester.

Dancing With The Stars, by Lucinda Grange

“I believe that a person is defined by their actions and choices, and is therefore defined by the environments they choose to put themselves in. This explains why I record my own surroundings, photographing the people and places I choose to have around me.”

Lucinda records social documentary in an unusual manner, sometimes alienating herself to do so, resulting in angst and solipsism. Beauty, fragility and fear are all present and tangible within the work.

This approach to documentary photography utilises high points within the landscape, resulting in her images “challenging the viewer to reconsider the environment they find themselves in”.

Janine Lees, painting, Birch House, 130 Main Street, Fulford, York

TAKING inspiration from the natural world, Janine creates works that evoke feelings of warmth and affection by painting intimate animal portraits in a realistic and colourful style.

Having previously worked as a graphic designer, Janine is now a full-time professional artist working from her home studio., where she divides her time between pet portrait commissions and creating artwork for sale.

Janine’s artwork has been selected to represent various coloured pencil and art publications both online and in exhibitions such as the UK Coloured Pencil Society, The Artist magazine (UK) and Color Magazine (USA).

Emma Frost: Highlighting the beauty found in our everyday lives

Emma Frost, painting, North Studio, Arnup Studios, Panman Lane, Holtby, York 

LANDSCAPE artist Emma has a particular interest in man-made structures such as pylons, wind turbines and telegraph poles, set against dramatic skylines and beautiful surroundings. 

Growing up in rural Northamptonshire before moving to York via Leeds, Germany and Amsterdam, Emma enjoys painting scenes depicting both rural and urban life.

She typically depicts views from her day-to-day surroundings, including school runs, supermarket car parks and drive-thru takeaways. “Ensuring these scenes also include beautiful sunsets or large, expansive skies enables my work to highlight the beauty found in our everyday lives,” she says. 

Shirley Davis Dew: Artist, tutor and demonstrator

Shirley Davis Dew, paintings, Rocking House Studio, Main Street, Fangfoss, York

A PASSION to capture movement, light and her love of colour permeates Shirley’s vibrant paintings in watercolour or acrylics paintings, applied with brushes, knives and fingers.

You can watch her in action in demonstrations from 10.30am to 12.30pm and 2.30pm to 4pm each day of York Open Studios 2022.

During many years in business management, Shirley painted for pleasure. Her exhibitions led to her being asked to run classes and so began a 20-year second career as a tutor and demonstrator.

“A love of Yorkshire inspires my paintings of the big skies, woodlands, rolling hills and coast,” she says.

Laura Thompson: Transitioning into illustration

Laura Thompson, illustration, Rocking House Studio, Main Street, Fangfoss, York

LAURA’S website promotes her as both a freelance illustrator and textiles and surface pattern designer. “I’m transitioning into illustration, from a background in textiles and graphic design; experimenting with ways of working, subject matters and observational work to discover a style that feels natural,” she explains.

Her York Open Studios debut focuses on botanical, still life and landscape illustrations, created using watercolour, gouache and colour pencils. Motifs are often manipulated digitally into designs for greetings cards and repeat patterns for textiles giftware.

“The outdoor world provides a constant source of inspiration, and now, people, places and possessions are explored from a personal perspective to encapsulate the themes of memory and sense of self,” she says. “Ideas translate into uplifting or nostalgic imagery, aiming to bring a joyful aesthetic.”

The Island: Exhibiting photography of everyday life taken with disposable film cameras

The Island, photography, Beverley House, 17 Shipton Road, York

YORK charity The Island supports some of the most vulnerable and isolated young people in the city to realise their potential through positive mentoring relationships and activities.

Collaborating with York photographer Makiko since early summer 2021, The Island introduced photography activities to the children – who range in age from mid-primary ages to late-teens – by providing them with disposable film cameras to shoot their everyday life.

The Island’s main purpose is to try to improve the mental health of vulnerable children in the York community, who are facing challenges in the post- Brexit, Covid-19 world, by adding these simple activities to their on-going art sessions, backed by Art Council England funding.

Images from The Island’s photographic activities