Who are the NEW artists in 2021’s York Open Studios? Six in the city to seek out

Serious advice from Joanna Lisowiec in her lettering series

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 tomorrow’s preview evening, from 6pm to 9pm, 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.

“Soothingly immersive”: Fiona Love’s art in her own words

Fiona Lane, painting, 8 Claremont Terrace, Gillygate, York

SELF-TAUGHT artist Fiona paints seascapes and landscapes, mostly on canvas.

“Most of my work is seas and trees,” she says. “I’m inspired by the beautiful and diverse Yorkshire countryside, which is so accessible to me.”

Favouring mixed media, she loves working with colour and light, creating pictures that she describes as “almost 3D” and “soothingly immersive”. 

“I prefer to paint outside,” says Fiona Lane, not least in her flower-filled courtyard

“I’m always developing my style,” she says. “I stretch and smooth paint which I apply with palette knives and brushes, adding details with other media. I prefer to paint outside, whether in the woods, by the sea or in my flower-filled York courtyard.”

Fiona will be taking part in tomorrow’s preview evening.

Creating textile designs is a form of meditation for Ealish Wilson

Ealish Wilson, textiles, PICA Studios, Grape Lane, York, second weekend only

TEXTILE designer Ealish has lived and worked in many places around the world, spending 15 years in the USA before making her way to York and joining the PICA Studios arts hub.

However, Japan was where her work was transformed. “Japan taught me that art exploration and practice is a lifelong journey from which we constantly learn,” she says.

“Experience informs the creative process over time, enhancing and developing an artist’s expression. It’s about seeing creativity in the everyday.”

She brings this philosophy to making her sculptural textiles, using a variety of substrates and techniques, including print, drawing, photography and stitching.

Ealish Wilson’s artistic philosophy: “Seeing creativity in the everyday”

“I repeat this process to create multiple iterations and layers to my designs,” she says. “Much of my process investigates pattern and its transformation through surface manipulation. I use many traditional hand methods of stitching, such as pleating and smocking, to physically alter my original designs.

“Frequently my work starts in the digital realm: whether photographing an object or one of my own paintings, it serves as inspiration for new work. Many of my images are everyday scenes or objects of purpose that appear mundane but feature a beautiful shape or colour that’s a perfect jumping-off point to create a textile.”

Ealish, who sees the craft of making as “my form or meditation”, is also exhibiting in the Westside Artists’ Momentum Summer Show at Blossom Street Gallery, York, until September 26.

Embroidery by Amy Butcher

Amy Butcher, textiles, 1 Carlton Cottages, Wigginton, York

FOR Amy’s applique-based hand embroidery, a collage of intricately cut fabric shapes creates a foundation. This is then stitched and embellished to make illustrative pieces rooted in nature and animals.

“My love of art and textiles started at school and has been a passion ever since,” says the largely self-taught Amy.

Amy Butcher: A passion for textiles

“The support and inspiration from an embroidery class enabled me to continue to develop my work and confidence, and in 2014 I was fortunate to get the opportunity to work with the greetings card company Bug Art.”

She now works on developing her own range of greetings cards, prints, cushion panels, coasters and embroidery stitch kits, printed from her original textile art for Beaks & Bobbins.

Tomorrow’s preview evening will be the first chance to catch her York Open Studios debut.

Golden Orioles, an illustration, by Joanna Lisowiec

Joanna Lisowiec, illustration, 40 Hempland Drive, York

JOANNA’S prints and illustrations look to nature, classical art and mythology for inspiration, as she focuses on birds and animals in her bold, clean and distinctive linocuts, drawings and paintings.

“My aspiration is to capture truths that make one ponder the beauty of life,” she says.

Originally from Poland and brought up in Colorado, USA, and Switzerland, she first came to Britain to study illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, falling in love with the wild Highlands and later with the “quaint English countryside” when she moved to Yorkshire for her MA in advertising and design from the University of Leeds.

“As an illustrator and printmaker, I’m known for a bold style of illustration with lots of texture, usually focused on the beauty of nature and narratives inspired by folklore. I love reading books and would love to illustrate a classic novel one day,” says Joanna, whose surname is pronounced “Lease-oviets”.

“When I’m not working, I can be found with my nose in a book, taking long walks in the countryside, drinking tea and listening to the rain.”

She will be opening her studio for tomorrow’s preview.

Black Mist, by Dee Thwaite

Dee Thwaite, painting, 10 Bedale Avenue, York, second weekend only

DEE uses acrylic paint, inks, graphite, oil pastels and charcoal in her sea and landscape paintings and drawings, marked by stormy skies, movement in the clouds, shifting light and the changing seasons.

Dee Thwaite at work in her studio

Mainly self-taught, this contemporary abstract artist expresses her love of the North Yorkshire coastline on canvas, board and paper in works that combine both a physical and emotional response when she paints, predominantly with her hands, as opposed to brushes.

“Painting has become such a healing and therapeutic part of my life and one of my greatest passions,” says Dee.

A Tabitha Grove painting on handmade paper

Tabitha Grove, painting, Arnup Studios, Panman Lane, Holtby, York

TABITHA uses bold colour, contrast, ink, watercolour, gold leaf and collage on handmade paper, fabric and even garments to explore perceptions of the body and how they can be challenged and celebrated. 

Her career as an actor and costume designer for film and theatre has informed Tabitha’s passion for storytelling and her fascination with the way our bodies interact with our environments.

Tabitha Grove: Actor, costume designer, art therapist, piano restorer….and artist

Tabitha’s career portfolio career extends to co-managing Look Gallery, in Helmsley, being an art therapist in hospitals and now working in piano restoration, where she learns rare skills that influence her art.

Each experience has informed Tabitha’s style, she says, leading to her “bringing diverse technique to a new perspective”.

TOMORROW: Reg Walker, Michelle Galloway, Judith Glover and Here Be Monsteras Ceramics (Kayti Peschke).