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York Open Studios 2019!

It’s almost time to choose and submit my work to apply for a place in York Open Studios 2019.

2018 was my first York Open Studios. It was great to be part of the event that celebrates the community of makers and artists in York that I now feel I’m part of. I loved it!

Looking ahead to next year, I’ve also taken time out to have a quick look back to see what some of the visitors to my studio made of it all! Here are the thoughts of just a few of the many folk that called in my studio – in their own words as told to my friend Helen King.

Lynne Glazzard - The first time buyer

Why did you visit Michelle’s studio today?

I saw some photographs of Michelle’s work on Instagram when I was planning my Open Studios route. There was just something about those photos that made me want to come to York to see the prints for myself. I am visiting a few other open studios, but watching Michelle at work is one of the main events of today for me. I’ve started learning to linocut, so Michelle’s demonstration was a bonus lesson.

What made you choose the Robin Hood’s Bay print?

I wasn’t planning to buy anything! But this print was just irresistible and it really called to me.

I spent a lot of time as a child North Yorkshire, and often visited Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. The print brings back so many happy memories of a really special part of North Yorkshire.

I love the way Michelle cuts the lino – the quality of the fine lines she cuts is just beautiful. I love how she uses separate blocks of colour to build up the print, it’s really effective.

I’ll leave today inspired to keep practising my own linocut printing and very happy with my new art work!

Gina & Julian Cole – the Open Studio neighbours

Why did you visit Michelle’s studio today?

Gina: We’ve been regulars at York Open Studio since it started a few years ago. This year a friend who knows Michelle’s work recommended we visit to see her new garden studio. We’ve met Michelle before and we’re really pleased to support our neighbourhood printer at her first Open Studios.

What made you choose the two prints you’ve bought today?

Gina: We came here looking for a 30th birthday present for our son. We’re not usually very decisive when buying art, but both loved this windmill print. We wanted a special present to remind our son of a special place in York. We live near the windmill – so this is just perfect.

Julian: Actually, we’ve been extra decisive today- this Sea Days print is for us! The design and colour really make it stand out. It’s stunning in its simplicity.

Shall we say more? No – it’s just a great design and we love it, simple as that!

Sally & Graham Marlow – the Open Studio weekenders

Why did you visit Michelle’s studio today?

Graham: We’ve come up to York from Stamford (in Lincolnshire), especially for the Open Studio weekend. We try to see as many studios as we can in the time we are here - and we do take time out from art, just to enjoy being in York.

Sally: We really love the whole Open Studio weekend here. When the brochure came this year we both picked Michelle out as one of the ‘must sees’ for our visit.

Graham: I used to work in publishing (at Ladybird Books) and now I’m learning to linocut myself. When I realised that Michelle would be doing demonstrations, I knew I’d learn from watching her work, and her demonstration really was a highlight for me.

What made you choose the print you’ve bought today?

Graham: Well, it was a hard to select just one, but the composition and colour on the Robin Hood’s Bay print is striking.

Sally: I really wanted one of the landscape prints – and there were about five we could have chosen! But we’ve been strict and have just bought this one.

The print really reminded me of our trip to Robin Hood’s Bay a few years ago. Not only is blue is my favourite colour, but the shades of blue on the print are my favourite shades of blue!

We’ll treasure this… and I dare say we’ll be back again this time next year.

Mike Pringle – the collector

Why did you visit Michelle’s studio today?

Mike: I live in York and have visited Open Studios for years now. I was delighted to hear Michelle would be taking part for the first time this year. I’ve liked Michelle’s work, since I saw her print of the Holgate Windmill. That was the first Michelle Hughes print I bought.

Where is that Windmill print now?

It is on the wall in our hall – but it’s not the only piece of Michelle’s work on that wall these days! I think I’ve bought about a dozen of her prints so far.

My wife has also commissioned Michelle to create some prints just for me. One is a print of some of my favourite trees. But the other, truly special one, is my print of a camera – my wife asked Michelle to make it to celebrate my retirement from my photography job.

So, what have you bought at Open Studios this year?

Mike: You’ll be astounded to hear that I haven’t bought any new prints yet this weekend! However, I did see some sketches for a print that Michelle is working on, and I’ve ordered an advance copy of that for my collection. It’s a lovely print of Staithes village and I’ll be getting the first print of the limited edition run.

Why do you like Michelle’s prints so much?

Mike: I truly think she’s a very talented printer.

The images she makes are often of places that I love in Yorkshire. I spend a lot of time walking with friends and family in the amazing countryside we have here and the landscape prints remind me of lots of happy times.

And OK confession…. Now that I have started this collection, I have to keep it going – there’s still room on the walls for more!

Charles Hutchinson – the arts editor

Your work (Arts Editor at the York Press) gives you the opportunity to attend many art events and exhibitions. What made you decide to visit Michelle’s studio?

Charles: Open Studios sent me some preview information about the artists taking part this year. I pick a few studios to visit each year as there are now so many I can’t get to them all.

The Open Studio publicity info had a great photo of Michelle in it with some of her work, so I decided to take a look at her website. Once I’d seen more of her work there, I’d added Michelle’s studio to my ‘to visit’ list.

Tell me about the visit – I know you bought a print.

Charles: Yes, when I arrived at the studio I got a lovely surprise as I found Michelle’s print of the Holgate Windmill, which to me, is one of the city’s best landmarks.

Actually, I love windmills, and know that there used to be four of them in York. It’s a shame there’s only one left now; but wonderful that it is a working windmill and it still produces flour.

So yes, back to why I bought the print! Not only do I love windmills, but I have a black and white room in my house and that print is perfect in there!

Do you buy a lot of work at Open Studios?

Charles: I usually buy one or two pieces each season. This year I bought Michelle’s Windmill and one more totally different piece from another new artist.

There’s always a chance of discovering someone new at Open Studios which is one of the things I really like about it.

I’ve been a champion of Open Studios in York since it started here. There are a number of Open Studio events around the country now but this one, here in York, remains one of the best. The standard of the work from the artists here is very high - it’s really improved over the years.

It’s a shame that the City and some of the established art organisations in York don’t do more to support it! It attracts so many visitors and tourists each year and provides a wealth of opportunities for new artists to show case their work.

However, Open Studios and the artists that take part now promote both this special community event and their own work really well.

I’d say Michelle has done a great job and made the most of her first Open Studios!

Naomi Whitakker – the Clifford’s Tower fan

Why did you visit Michelle’s studio

Naomi: I met Michelle at a York Printmakers fair last year and really liked her work. We got chatting, and I suggested she made a print of some of the classic buildings in York for a change from her landscape work.

I told Michelle about my small collection of pictures of the Tower; I persuaded her to have a go at making a Tower print by promising to buy the first one!

I was pleased to see copies of the Clifford’s Tower print on display at Open Studios.

What do you like about the print of Clifford’s Tower?

Naomi: I think it’s a great take on a classic view of the Tower in springtime. The light on the Tower really changes with the seasons. When I was talking to Michelle I hinted I’d like a springtime view of the Tower, which of course, means daffodils on the banks.

Michelle made a little video recording how she made the print. My daughter and I really enjoyed watching it together - it was great to see Michelle adding the daffodils to her design. The print’s a family favourite and it’s nice to have a personal connection to the artist and know how she made our print.

What would you like to see Michelle make next?

Naomi: Hmm, I’m not sure. Maybe some more images of the famous buildings in York. Or maybe, if Michelle has a head for heights a view from the top of the Tower across to the city. Do you think I could persuade her to try that?!

Words Helen King

Photos Helen King and Mike Pringle

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