Words and Photography: Kayti Peschke
York Open Studios weekends are upon us! I look forward to this so much every year as it’s an amazing chance to meet artists in their homes and studios, see the process of what goes into their work whilst getting a glimpse into their life and inspirations.
There is something so magical when you walk into an artist’s space, to see scribbles in sketchbooks and ideas tacked to the walls, as well as works in progress and new collections being made before your eyes. You get a much greater understanding of what goes into each piece and of the artist behind them, which connects you to the finished art so much more.
So where to start? I’d say there is no better place than heading to Pica Studios (Venues 40&41 on the map) where you can find several artists under one roof covering paintings, ceramics, jewellery, clothing and printmaking. It’s a wonderful shared workspace with a vibrant energy and amazing work, with every last corner filled with something to look at. If you can only make time to visit one place then this is it!
My other top spots to check out:
Definitely make time to visit Mark Hearld’s house (Venue 14) which is incredible. As you walk down the dark entrance corridor and it opens up into room after room of eclectic discoveries, you can’t help but feel like Alice tumbling into the rabbit hole. Mark’s work is incredible and his new collection of collages is a must-see.
Head to The Basement (Venue 42) to see Mim Robson creating her floral mandalas (and have a go yourself) as well as emotive photography from the streets of Berlin by Danny Knight and beautiful art pieces by Jelena Lunge. Ben Arnup (Venue 10) creates geometric ceramics that are like optical illusions and are best appreciated up close.
I also loved the gorgeous jewellery by Joanna Wakefield (Venue 13) and Jane Atkins (Venue 4): if you are thinking of a special piece for yourself or a gift then check them out. It’s also a great opportunity to talk direct with the makers about commission pieces.
For those who fancy a drive then head out to Full Sutton where you will find Richard Mackness (Venue 61) who uses found objects as inspiration to create stunning sculptures cast in bronze, aluminium and concrete, from hand sized to car sized! Really fascinating work and worth the trip!
As well as the irresistible snooping around people homes and studios, it is also a great opportunity to buy work direct from the artist and support your local makers. I’m a big fan of the Just A Card Campaign whose message is that all purchases, however small, even ‘just a card’ are so vital to the prosperity and survival of small businesses. So a great excuse to stock up on cards for the rest of the year I say!
As well as discovering new artists, it’s also a great way to see more of the city. I walked down streets I never knew were there, discovered architecture and hidden spots that would have otherwise never been found, and it made me appreciate the city even more.
There are over 120 artists and makers involved so there is plenty to see, so grab a map and your comfy shoes and have a great time exploring and see what you discover this weekend!Kayti Peschke