York Open Studios

The York Open Studios is a really interesting annual event which is being held this year on the weekends of April 21, 22, 23 and April 29, 30. Over the two weekends, artists and craftspeople working in York and the surrounding villages open their studios, workshops and homes to the public. It’s a great opportunity to meet the amazing range of creative people at work in York and view their work – and it’s free!

This year’s event features works by around 100 artists, in every conceivable medium: paint, sculpture, glasswork, ceramics, jewellery, furniture-making, mobiles, prints, linocuts, photography, and more. And in a huge variety of styles – from the painstakingly ultra-realistic to the wildly abstract, and the plain bonkers!

With so much to see, it’s important to do a bit of prioritising and advance planning. The first thing to do is to get hold of the free York Open Studios booklet (beautifully produced, as you would expect) or take a look at the website: www.yorkopenstudios.co.uk. You can see photos of each artist’s work, with a short description, and most importantly there’s a handy map so that you can plot a little tour of the artists you like the look of.

We are jewellery fans in our household so last year we focused on visiting a handful of jewellers. (Don’t be over-ambitious and try to see too much, by the way.) We also dropped into one or two other artists whose work caught our eye, including one who conveniently lives in our street! It’s fascinating talking to the artists about their craft – and it’s also interesting to take a peek into other people’s houses, especially the houses of quirky creative types!

Not, incidentally, that all the venues are people’s homes. One of my favourite venues is the York Cemetery Chapel – a stunning ‘Graeco-Egyptian’ building which is not often open to the public.

If you can’t wait until the last two weekends in April, you can get a taster at the launch event in the Stained Glass Centre at St. Martin-Cum-Gregory’s Church off Goodramgate on 8th and 9th April. Here you’ll be able to see examples of work by many of the artists whose studios will be open later in the month. I’ll definitely be going. See you there!

John Duncan

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