Tag Archives: arts & crafts

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………


What’s next for us…….

Although the Inspirations festival is an annual event, we’re keen to keep you busy with other arty projects during the rest of the year too!

The next community project we’re working on is Fiesta, which takes place this year on Saturday 5 June in York.  The 1-day festival, which is being run by City of York Council’s arts and culture team, aims to get people from all over the city involved in celebrating the city – either by taking part in creating things before the event (which we’ll come onto in a moment!), joining in on the day and visiting some of the events, or just taking time out from their usual routine to come into the city centre and watch dancers, salsa and visit a magical garden while drinking tea!

All sound a bit mad?  Good – it’s supposed to!

This year, we’re working with the arts and culture team on the Wonderland garden – which we’ll talk about again on here once we have more details – but we’re also really excited becuase we’ve been asked to help ‘dress’ the event – clearly they have heard about all the creative people we’ve got in touch with through The Patch Project!

So what do we need from you?

Well, we need all you creative people to help us make some Fiesta bunting, which we’ll be stringing from the trees on Parliament Street to create a fun and festive atmosphere!



All the bunting will be made out of fabric, which we’ll be providing, but you can make your triangles unique, just as with your ‘patches’ and embellish away to your hearts content if you wish!  We’re going to set up some ‘bunting sessions’ over the coming weeks, so if you’d like bunt with us (oh yes!) then drop me an email – katie.pask@york.gov.uk – and I’ll let you know when the next session is!

Documenting and Evaluating Inspirations

Now that the festival is over for another year, it’s time for us to reflect on all the successes and think about what we’d like to do differently next year.  We always like to spend a couple of weeks jotting down ideas, reading through the questionnaires our visitors kindly filled in and catching up with tutors and students about their thoughts.

One of the things we find very useful is to go through all the pictures we took over the two days – it helps us remember how exhibitions looked and all the work that gets created during the workshops. Here are some of our favourite inspirational pictures…..

Pretty eggs created on Donna's Easter Egg Tree workshop

Pretty eggs created on Donna's Easter Egg Tree workshop

Deborah's fibres for feltmaking - really, how could you NOT want to create something?!

Deborah's fibres for feltmaking - really, how could you NOT want to create something?!

Collaborative pointillism piece created by Karen's Painting & Drawing students

Collaborative pointillism piece created by Karen's Painting & Drawing students

Lots of people being creative during the Saturday morning workshops

Lots of people being creative during the Saturday morning workshops

Festival Brochure now online!

We’re now only seven and a bit weeks away from Inspirations, and (just about!) everything is falling into place.  You can now download the festival brochure and find out more about what’s happening when and how you can get involved.

As predicted, the workshops are proving to be a hit again, and places are down to the last few on some and waiting lists for others – if you’re planning on coming along, don’t leave it too long.  Give us a call to find out which workshops are still available on 01904 553397.

We’re also starting to get lots of call and emails about the Patch Project, our community free-to take-part textiles piece.  Take a look at the brochure if you’re interested in getting involved.  As we’ve said to lots of people this week, you don’t need to be an experienced quilter or patchworker to get involved; all you need is a bit of enthusiasm and some fabric to get you started.  Once you’ve got your basic fabric patch, you can pretty much do anything you like to it – the quirkier and more creative the better – so far we’ve had all sorts of different styles sent in to the office – from abstract paintings to traditional piece work, poems and symbols, beaded work and applique – all look great and show the different talents of the people who created them – thanks to all!  We’ve been very naughty and not posted any pictures of them on here BUT it has reached the top of the ‘to do list’ so they will be making an appearance tonight and tomorrow!

Workshops Confirmed!

Learners enjoying Catherine's mosaics workshop at Inspirations this year

Learners enjoying Catherine's mosaics workshop at Inspirations this year

Our 2010 workshops have now been confirmed, and we’re really excited by the range of activities taking place next year!

Not only will we have the free textiles project The Patch Project running on both days, but we’ll also be running 8 tutor-led sessions ranging from 2-5 hours in length.

You can find out more about what’s taking place when on the Workshop page – we’ll be adding in times and prices over the next few days, so do keep checking back. 

This year, we’ve decided to advertise the Inspirations workshop in our main prospectus, the Learning4Life guide, so that hopefully we can attract some new faces, as well as our die-hard arty and crafty visitors who make a point of coming along every year.  We’ll be taking bookings from Monday 4 January by phone – 01904 553397

Rain + wind = staying in and crafting

Spent most of this weekend enjoying being at home, after slightly terrifying pre-Christmas shopping trip on Saturday morning.  Will NOT be repeating the experience in a hurry.  Having said that, I’m definitely starting to get excited about the festive season and have even had my first (of many) mince pie!

I’ve been making some felt decorations for our tree, using up some odds and ends from Wingham Wools to make felt hearts.  Once the felt is ready, I decorate them with buttons, embroidery and fabric, before blanket stitching 2 hearts together and stitching in a little bit of ribbon at the top to hang them from.  They’d also look nice hanging from door handles, mantlepieces and window frames I think, or given as little stocking fillers (Speaking of which – have been drooling over the fab Alice in Wonderland mirrors, brooches, etc made by Sumptuosity, a York based company who I have just added to my favourites – perfect little presents for stylish friends).

Got the idea from Donna’s Hearts & Crafts workshop which I cheekily went on at Inspirations last year, totally abandoning Claire on the reception desk!  Due to lots of requests, Donna will be running the same workshop again next year, this time on the Saturday, so you can all take a pretty homemade heart home too. And that’s a tongue twister.

Fitting it all in

Feeling a bit concerned that we’re already on the 10th of November!  It’s high time we got to grips with putting together the brochure for the festival.  We know what we need to include, but trying to fit it all in and still make it readable to the human eye is going to be a challenge this year! 

Poppy, by Dee Smith

Poppy, by Dee Smith

So far, we’ve picked our cover image, which will be used for the brochure and the invite to the preview evening.  It’s a mixed media piece produced by one of our painting and drawing learners, Dee Smith, and has a lovely, almost textile quality to it, which of course ties in nicely with our focus on textiles and patchwork.

We’ll also be including a page about the amazing new facilities at Manor School, who help us to fund the  performing arts side of the festival, and with whom we’re hoping to put on a new media and digital arts morning just before Inspirations.

Could continue to procrastinate here about what’s going in the brochure, but really should just get on and do it so you can see it!  Just a quick note to finish.  We went along to York Art Gallery last week to hear a talk from one of the gallery’s curators on their Sashiko exhibition and were hugely impressed.  It’s a really beautiful display, and there’s a fascinating history to the craft which you can read all about while you’re there.  It’s free to visit the gallery, so if you live locally, or are planning on visiting York, make sure you take time out to go and have a look.  Japanese Sashiko Textiles runs until 24 January 2010.