With over 100 artists at nearly 80 venues across the city centre (and a bit beyond), York Open Studios have reached a new level of achievement in their sixteenth year. Both weekends saw routine visitors and new recruits travel by bike, bus, car and foot to town houses, country retreats, modern studios and garden sheds to meet the many talented artists who call York home.
This year’s selection presented both regular participants and first-time partakers displaying expertise in all manner of mediums including painting, print, drawing, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics, textiles, and much more.
Having made paper mobiles for the past 15 years, artist Lu Mason now creates colourful etched perspex mobiles, light boxes and jewellery, which were this year displayed in Ben Arnup‘s house alongside his equally eye-catching ceramics. Mason’s delicate designs danced in the light, playful in their bold block colours and quirky shapes whilst also demonstrating high levels of skill and thought.
Equally charming were the works of jewellery designer Joanna Wakefield, whose pieces demonstrate a love of textiles in the use of vintage buttons and reclaimed objects of old.
Just around the corner were more delights of the past in Mark Hearld and Emily Sutton‘s eclectic space housing a myriad of intriguing objects – from ceramics and trinkets to taxidermy and collages – along with the artists’ own work. If you thought ‘The Lumber Room‘ was a collection of treasures, then you were in for a treat visiting this much loved studio and home.
For more abstract art, there were artists such as Croatia-born Milena Dragic making beautiful multi-layered prints in a cosy garden studio space. Dragic’s daily demonstrations gave a fascinating insight into the creative process and the physical demands of working with different printing methods such as linocuts, with the opportunity for visitors to get hands-on with stamping.
Continuing with colour, the York Cemetery Chapel provided a bright and open space in which to further illuminate the bold hues and bouncing movement of Lesley Williams‘ paintings depicting natural sources of water.
Similarly striking in the chapel were the works of Ruth Merriman, who also draws on forms from nature (specifically of Orkney) to create exceptionally detailed and engaging mixed media pieces.
Not only were the artists and their studio spaces diverse, but the visitors too came from all walks of life – from students and families to tourists and aspiring makers, it was a chance for everyone to celebrate not only the creators but also the supporters who together make York such a vibrant, interesting and ever-evolving city to live in.
Make sure to join in the reunion when York Open Studios returns in 2018.
Further blogs to come on the ceramic artists at York Open Studios 2017 and a look at the work of cameraless photographer Alun Kirby.