Updated: Apr 27, 2020
I may not be able to open my doors for York Open Studios this year but I can open my virtual studio to you...
Join YOS artists for a Virtual York Open Studios. Friday 17 to Sunday 26 April 2020. Follow #YorkOpenStudios and @YorkOpenStudios on social media.
Look out for #OpenWindowsYork2020 too!
Join me for a private tour of my print studio. I’ll be sharing where I work and explaining briefly about the tools and equipment I use.
I'll be sharing my my new linocut prints. Hot off the press!
I’ll also show you how I've made a couple of the designs in more detail
Since Christmas I have been working on numerous new designs for York Open Studios 2020 and an exhibition at The Moors National Park Centre in Danby, North Yorkshire.
In light of Covid-19 these events have all been postponed until next year. I will continue to share with you each step of the process I’ve been using to create these new linocut prints.
Friday 17 April 2020
Day 1. Who I am & what I do?...
Hello, I'm Michelle Hughes. I'm a North Yorkshire landscape artist and designer. I use linocut print to create original prints, predominately of Yorkshire landscapes and the Yorkshire coast. I teach in-person linocut workshops in my York garden studio. I will be teaching workshops online soon.
A huge thank you to Paul Farquharson at BeetrootBox for creating this video.
Saturday 18 April 2020
Day 2. Why do I take part in YOS?
The thing I love the most about York Open Studios is the connection with people.
I've spent most of winter beavering away on new work. In many ways the reward for that is sharing it in person and explaining how I made it too.
There's such a community atmosphere to the event. I love meeting new people who share similar interests.
Also I love the strong sense of community amongst artists, who support each other. This year has certainly been no different! YOS is an artist led event. It's run by volunteers, we all chip in too. Without that, it just wouldn't happen.
I've spent today making a video for Tuesday's post. It's knocked me sideways. The true realisation that YOS isn't happening properly until 2021.
Sunday 19 April 2020
Day 3. Where do I get my inspiration from?
My linocut prints are all inspired by photographs I take while cycling or walking.
It's about getting completely lost and absorbed in nature. Alone or with friends.
I’m particular drawn to pathways that lead my eye through the image of the landscape. I'm looking for key shapes and lines in the landscape, that capture the characteristics of that particular place. I take hundreds of photographs to remind me and work from.
Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Yorkshire Coast & Yorkshire Wolds have been my main point of inspiration as they're on my doorstep & I can have mini adventures. Further afield I love Scotland, Northumberland & the Lake District.
Read more in the inspiration section of my blogs.
Monday 20 April 2020
Day 4. What is my favourite technique?
Linocut of course! I love making things with my hands. I was initially drawn to linocut for it's graphic style. I love the style of vintage travel posters and original prints from 30's and 50's.
I enjoy mark making and distilling an imagine down into simple blocks of colour. A lot harder than you may think! I enjoy process as it focuses me to simplify things down. I spent loads of time trying to capture the right image and then working out how I will create it. I think that draws on my mathematical planing skills from my days pattern cutting for clothing. Carving lino is quite meditative. I carve in 10 min intervals, with a break. You can't stick lino back on, so concentration is vital! Mistakes do happen. I either adapt the design, if that's possible, or start again. Printing can be quite stressful. Cleaning up takes time, so once my inks are out I don't stop. Both focus me completely in the moment. I carve to audio books, podcasts & Radio 4.
I sing & dance (badly!) when printing, often to Radio x. I've always loved working with colour and used to predict colour trends when I designed clothing for high street fashion retailers. I use Hawthorn semi transparent oil-based inks, which have a delicious luminosity to them. I like the fact that with linocut I can make multiple prints from one set of lino blocks. These are called editions. Mine are limited. It means I can share my work with a wider audience & make art accessible. That's very important to me. I don't like art being exclusive to how much you can afford. I try to have a variety of price points, for that very reason. There are lots more videos showing how I make my prints in the 'Studio Diary' section of my blog.
Tuesday 21 April 2020
Day 5. What is my studio like?
My studio is in my garden in Holgate. What I love most about my studio is that it's a light filled creative space, close to nature. It's a calm place and in summer, filled with bird song. I can't help but feel inspired!
I converted my dusty cold garage to my studio newly 4 years ago. For once I’d received redundancy money. I used that to put in good insulation and skylight. It’s the best investment I’ve ever made and has literally changed my world. See my Studio: Before and after blog to see the transformation. I get completely in my zone and loose track of all time. It’s a highly creative space and one of creative solace. It’s usually a tech free zone. I do all my admin in the house. With the weather being so good and me needing to spend so much time on a screen for my online workshops course I have moved my computer in temporarily. I am in the process of making a little ‘studio tour’ video. I filmed it on Saturday and need to edit it next. Something that’s new to me. However, I’ve had heap of homework to catch up on for my Design Trust online workshops course, so plan to finish it for Sunday evening. Watch this space!
Wednesday 22 April 2020
Day 6. What is my favourite piece of work?
That's so hard to choose! This is my new Nidderdale linocut print.
The inspiration for this design comes from a photo I took in July 2017, while mountain biking in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire. So I'm drawn to the design because I've fond memories of that day, as well as loving trees.
The linocut is a 5 colour multi block linocut print. The shade of olive green/grey in the background is created by printing the mid grey over the mid green. See step by step stages of the process used to create it, in my How I made my Nidderdale linocut print blog.
I've created 8 new linocut designs that I can't wait to share with you over the coming weeks.
Thursday 23 April 2020
Day 7. Which YOS artists do I admire the most?
It would be wrong to choose just one! There's such a camaraderie and community spirit. I used to be intimidated by the art world and thought I couldn't be 'one of them'. But I couldn't have been so wrong. Being turned down the first year knocked my confidence but the others are so full of encouragement that I tried again.
This is my 3rd year of taking part and only downside is not being able to go out and visit everyone else's studios! It's something I've look forward to ever year since morning to York. YOS is an artist led event run by volunteers who put huge amount of time and effort in to make it happen. I'd recommend grabbing a cuppa and having a look on the York Open Studios website and social media feeds at #YorkOpenStudios
Friday 24 April 2020
Day 8. What do my visitors say/ask?
I save lovely feedback in my comments books & as notes on my phone. It keeps me going on grey days. It's been a bumpy week so montaging these few together had me in tears!
Read more in my York Open Studios 2019 blog.
Saturday 25 April 2020
Day 9. What are my plans for YOS 2021?
I work my socks off through winter so that I can spend more time gathering inspiration in the longer warmer days. It had been to gather inspiration in the Lakes District, Scotland, Ireland and of course more of Yorkshire. Now that's gone pear shaped!
Do you have a favorite place or view? Where would you like me to do a linocut print of?
I'd love to hear from you. Get in touch.
Sunday 26 April 2020
Day 10. Where can you find my work in the meantime?
My original linocut prints & digitally printed greetings cards are in my online shop.
Deliveries by post, picked up from my York pick-up point or FREE cycle deliveries within 15 mile radius of York. I'm in the process of adding my latest work. If you can't find what you're looking for please drop a line.
I'll be adding new blogs about my latest new prints soon.
Monday 27 April 2020
Virtual Open Studio Tour
So here it is...
A short 2 minute 20 second, taster tour of my studio. This is my very first edited video. It's not perfect and I've learnt lots!
I would appreciate any constructive feedback in the comments below (or email) as to how I can improve them going forward.
A bit of background as this wasn't easy...
I've been learning how to film and edit in Adobe Premiere Pro. It's not easy that's for sure! For the moment I'm using my iPhone with a lavalier mic, so have certain limitations. Apart from one clip, it was all filmed on what would have been the first day of York Open Studios.
Now that was hard! It brought it all home, that it really wasn't happening. There I was telling people about my latest prints that would have been on display. While in reality, I haven't finished them because since lockdown everything has been on hold. Shifting my focus into diversifying and learning new skills in order to do that.
I'm currently on a Design Trust course, 'Teach Creative Skills Online'.
Once I've learned the skills and put them into practice, I will hopefully at some point, be able to earn a living from online linocut workshops.
To be able to create content for online teaching resources I would like to include video tutorials. This video has been a step on that journey.
I'm not in a financial situation to be able to outsource my editing, so for now I've had to teach myself. One silver cloud in all of this, is I already have access to Premier Pro as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription I pay for, for other Adobe programs I use.
Another silver cloud is that I don't need to reapply for the event next year. I have a guaranteed place for York Open Studios 2021. I will do my own small open studio as soon as it's safe and appropriate to do so. I would like to think late autumn but who knows. For now save the date...
York Open Studios 2021 - 17/18 and 24/25 April 2021
Thank you for joining me over these last 11 days. I hope that it's given you a bit of an insight into what would have been York Open Studios 2020.
Come & have a close up look. The ferns won’t mind. I'll be changing the display each week. Give me a virtual wave if you’re passing too!!!
I realised I had lots of videos of previous open studios I could share with you. So here's looking back at a few....
York Open Studios 2019
York Open Studios 2019
My linocut print studio set up for York Open Studios 2019.