Tag Archives: Art & Design

York Open Studios

Did you manage to get round any of the artists in this year’s York Open Studios?  Hopefully you did, because there were so many inspiring works to see and new artsists and techniques to discover!

We didn’t manage to make it round everyone (you’d have to be seriously dedicated and spend all weekend visiting the venues!) but we definitely felt we’d seen a good selection.  It’s hard to pick a ‘favourite’ out of them all, but a few highlights for us this year were….

Work by Chi-ui Wu - one of our personal highlights from York Open Studios 2010

Work by Chi-ui Wu - one of our personal highlights from York Open Studios 2010

The whimsical ink drawings and enchanting ceramics created by Chiu-i Wu – her work is full of light, nature and life and we spotted several things wanted to take home with us – it’s the type of work you could look at every day and see something new in it.

On our way into town on Saturday morning, we passed by several of the venues, including Sandra Middleton, who works with silks and velvets that she dyes herself to create abstract pieces.  The pieces looked so different depending on the light which was reflected on the fabrics (the images on her website don’t really do her work justice), and it was really great to have the chance to meet Sandra and see how the work was produced.

Across town, we visited David’s Patrick’s studio on Norfolk Street.  David’s use of colour is really quite arresting, particularly the lush greens and vivid purples, and his work somehow makes York look very urban and contemporary – even in pieces featuring some of York’s most ancient features.

Worth remembering of course that all these artists work outside of York Open Studios – so check out their websites to find out more about their work, where else they exhibit and how you can buy their work. 

If you did visit open studios, tell us who, and what you thought………


For one night only

Last week, we attended the launch event for Revolving Gallery, a new art initative started by four local creative types – the concept being that the art ‘revolves’; different artists and styles are showcased at each one-off event.  It was especially nice to see that the artists were all Yorkshire-based, and we were impressed with the variety of the work on show.

The venue itself is also worth a mention – the chapel at University of York St John, which we’d never been to before – really great space for something like this, and we always like having a nose round plac es we can’t normally get to!

Hopefully Revolving Gallery will be back again in the spring.  In the current climate it takes a brave group of people to try something completely new that, let’s be honest, doesn’t come cheap, but we wish them success – York is crying out for more events like this.

Photography workshop

Hooray! We’re pleased to confirm that one of our photography tutors, John Potter, will be leading an evening photography workshop as part of the Inspirations festival next year – details TBC very shortly.

Photograph by John Potter, taken February 2009 at Wharram Percy

Photograph by John Potter, taken February 2009 at Wharram Percy

John’s workshop will take the form of a walking tour of some of the amazing places in York, and we’ll start taking bookings in January.  Knowing that all his courses with us have waiting lists at the moment, we recommend reserving your place ASAP!  If you’re keen to find out more about John’s very cool photography in the meantime, you can check out his website.  The fabulous photo above is one of John’s taken in Wharram Percy, the deserted medieval village in North Yorkshire. Gorgeous.

Crafting gets colourful

OMA Tagtool artists at Illuminating York 23 Oct - 1 Nov, photo by Kippa Matthews

OMA Tagtool artists at Illuminating York 23 Oct - 1 Nov, photo by Kippa Matthews

We’re completely inspired by all the art being created at Illuminating York!

Over the weekend, there were several thousand people at the 3 sites each day,  and although it’s cold, we want to see more!  The soundtracks that accompanied the projections were fantastic, but for us it was all about the colours!  The idea of having a mix of really bright, vivid, clashing colours really appeals, especially when it’s set against the backdrop of the night sky – I’ll be using this idea for inspiration on my patches this week. The Wall of Light is a bit like seeing fireworks really with the constantly changing images – and we definitely heard some ‘oooooohs’!

We’ve had a few more patches in from eager craftsters now, and we’re really impressed with the standard.  As soon as we can get round to taking pictures, we’ll add some to the blog so you can see what people have been creating.  We’re also looking forward to our patching session at the weekend – we’re getting some tutors and friends together to have a few hours of crafting so we can start building up our patch collection!  Again, we’ll post some photos from this session on here as soon as we can.

Illuminating York 2009

I’m lucky enough to be part of the marketing group working on the Illuminating York festival that starts today and runs through until Sunday 1 November.  We had our press launch last night, and had a fantastic turn out, including Look North, The Yorkshire Post, York Press and the arts journalist Patrick Kelly.

Welcome to York

Welcome to York

The 10 day annual event gives people the opportunity to see cutting edge technology used to highlight the beauty of some of York’s oldest buildings and monuments – this year the multangular tower in the Museum Gardens and the courtyard at King’s Manor.  The picture above shows the work of two companies GaiaNova & OMA International, who will be based in the Museum Gardens every night for their Wall of Light piece – I’ve included a link to their blog here (Drawing Live News), but you can find out more about how their piece works by visiting the Tagtool website.  It’s a very cool piece of equipment which, in conjunction with a laptop and projector, allows images to be created, edited and projected to a giant scale.  There’s also information on the Tagtool website about how you can build your own, if you are technically-minded!  York based company Bright White will be projecting Vespertine in King’s Manor, a light and sound piece based on nocturnal creatures and sounds – the sound is fantastic in the space!

Pilot Theatre & KMA will also be featured at the festival, projecting their piece 5Circles in St Sampson’s Square 23 -25 October.  They’ve just been awarded the Inspire mark for 5Circles- which essentially means they will be included in the London 2012 cultural programme of events – well done to them.

After all the hard work that goes into planning such a large event, it’s absolutely brilliant to see the final results.  The artists who were drawing last night are incredibly talented, and I strongly urge you to come along and take a look – you can even have a go at ‘drawing on the wall’ yourself, and I promise, if you’re interested in photography – you will get some AMAZING shots.

The festival takes place every evening from 6pm – 10pm, and you can find out more about what’s on, and how you can get involved on the Illuminating York website


Most of our workshops have now been confirmed for the 2010 festival.  We’re trying some new ideas as well as repeating some popular sessions that we’ve held previously.

Next year there’ll be a really nice creative buzz in the workshops. 

Getting creative on Brooches, Buttons & Bows at Inspirations 2009

Getting creative on Brooches, Buttons & Bows at Inspirations 2009

We’re holding them in the undercroft at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, and there will be at least 2 sessions on at any time during both the Friday and the Saturday – sometimes all four spaces will be full of people making and creating!

We’ll keep you up to date on all the sessions taking place over the next couple of months so that you can decide which ones you’d like to come on – you can book a place from January.

‘The Patch Project’ – Inspirations 2009 live project

We’re absolutely thrilled to be working with the National Quilt Museum on The Patch Project.  We’ve had a fantastic initial meeting with them this week and Melanie, their education officer, has come up with all sorts of wonderful ways of supporting us.  We’ll add in a link along the side of this blog to take you straight to the museum’s website so you can find out more about their beautiful exhibitions, and hopefully get inspired to have a go at making your own textiles pieces.

The Patch Project is our take on the increased interest in all things homemade.  We want to encourage people to try something new,  explore using different materials and feel involved in a community project.  If you’re new to textiles, or don’t have the patience for intricate patchwork – fear not!  We’re just as happy for you to use felt, wool, sequins,  paint, or any other material you fancy using to create pictures or abstract squares.

We’re also going to suggest that people use things they already have or can buy cheaply, to make their patch.  We’ll be using clothes we no longer wear, scraps of fabrics, bits of ribbons we’ve been hoarding and raiding our button  collections to make our patches! 

We plan to launch The Patch Project officially in January, but if you’re really keen to get started, you might like to attend one of the ‘patch sessions’ that we’re holding between now and then – if so, drop an email to Katie who’s part of the Inspirations team – katie.pask@york.gov.uk, and she’ll tell you when the next one is happening.

Once we’ve launched officially, you’ll be able to download a basic handout about the project to get you started, as well as 3 detailed handouts about creating traditional patchwork produced by volunteers from the  Quilt Museum.  We’re keen to make sure that everyone can contribute to the piece, no matter what their existing level of skill.

We’ll keep blogging about the project to keep you up to date (and because we’re excited about itourselves!) and to show you patches that other people have created.