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Christmas Events, Markets and Fairs in York

Swap Black Friday for Colour Friday and Indie Friday and buy locally handmade gifts this Christmas.

Christmas makers fairs York 2023

This year I thought I'd share my round-up of smaller York Christmas events by local artists and makers. York is vibrant with artists and makers working in their home studios, shared artists’ studios or kitchen tables. Christmas is an opportunity for them to share what they make through the many Christmas events and winter fairs held around York. Other artists and makers are opening up their studios individually or as an art trail. Alongside these, York independent galleries stock local artists’ work. 

I’ve realised I’ve got fire in my belly just as I did when I designed for small fair trade retailers. There are so many parallels. In the UK On the whole, we don’t value the craft, time and skill that goes into making handmade products. But think about it. What are you buying into when you do? You’re buying a hand-crafted gift that will have taken hours to make. It’ll be made with love and passion and years of experience. In many cases, you’re helping keep a craft alive. In this mass-produced world, so many are being lost. If you’re interested in learning more take a look at the Heritage Crafts campaign.

Small businesses can be the heart and soul of a community. They offer unique, one-of-a-kind products. What can start as a hobby or a cottage industry, while juggling the school run or the job that pays the bills, can organically grow into a micro business or small business that supports the local economy and employs local people. Artists and makers don’t just make things to make a living. On the contrary, they often don’t make their time back, as they often feel forced into pricing products competitively with what could be deemed as similar mass-produced items.

I’m not dissing high street stuff. I spent 25 years designing fashion homeware and gifting for the mass market and high street names. It’s not all mass-manufactured in China. In some sectors, it is still very much handcrafted, even if it is in larger volumes. The problem with much of that is how much those artisans are getting paid but that’s a whole other rant and the reason I swapped designing for big retailers for fair trade. I was just unlucky that I was made redundant from my second job. 

The markets and events below give you the opportunity to buy direct from artists and makers. It’s a joy to buy directly from the person that made it. Ask them how they did. What was their inspiration? Where do they source their materials from? What techniques do they use? We love being asked. Our eyes light up, we sparkle and shine. Personally, I go from being an introvert to someone who can’t stop enthusing about my inspiration and how I make my prints. Now isn’t that a lovely story to tell, when you give a gift this Christmas? 

So this Christmas choose to turn your back on Black Friday mass consumption and support small businesses. And in the words of the Heritage Crafts campaign 'Buy Less, Buy Better, Buy Handmade'.

York Christmas Events Markets and Fairs

Click on the event names for more details.

Thurs 23 Nov 2023

Bluebird Bakery, 201 Acomb Rd, York, YO24 4HD

5pm to 9pm

Sat 25 Nov 2023

RSVP event. Please contact me for studio details.

10am to 4pm

Sorry, a shameless plug...

Christmas open studio York 2023 Michelle Hughes

Sat 25 Nov 2023

Clements Hall, Nunthorpe Rd, York YO23 1BW

10am to 4pm

Sun 26 Nov 2023

Sand Hutton, White Syke Farm, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LN, 

10am to 4pm

Sat 2 Dec 2023

RSVP event. Contact Jo for studio details. 

10am to 4pm

Sat 2 Dec 2023

Christmas Made Local (Previously Etsy’s Team York)

Central Methodist Church, St Saviousgate, York YO10 8NQ

10am to 4pm

Sat 2 and Sun 3 Dec 2023

7a Grape Lane, York YO1 7HU and 28a Fossgate, York YO1 9TA

10am to 5pm

Sat 2 Dec and Sun 3 Dec 2023

South Bank Studios, 97 Bishopthorpe Road, York YO23 1NX

Plus individual artist studios

10am to 4pm

Sat 2nd Dec 2023

29-31 Coney Street, York YO1 9QL

11am to 5pm

Sat 2 Dec and Sun 3 Dec Dec 2023

10am to 5pm

Artists and markers in York and North Yorkshire.

Sat 2 Dec and Sun 3 Dec 2023

Southbank, York. Follow the signs on the corner of Bishopthorpe Road and Richardson Steet. 

10am to 4pm

Thurs 7 Dec 2023

Bluebird Bakery, 201 Acomb Rd, York, YO24 4HD

5pm to 9pm

Sat 9 Dec 2023

Dalton Terrace, York YO24 4DD

10am to 2pm

If I’ve missed any, do let me know.

York Independent Art Galleries

43 Stonegate, York YO1 8AW

2 Blossom St, York YO24 1AE

How to support small business

One last thing. This is the way to support small independent businesses like mine without spending money.

How to support small business

Please help spread the word about my prints, workshops and online courses. I would be grateful if you could tag my social media accounts at @MichelleHughesDesign on Instagram and @MichelleHughesDesign on Facebook, @Design_York on Twitter and use the hashtag #MichelleHughesDesign.

Indie week and colour Friday

Look out for Just a Card Indie Week and Colour Friday the colourful independent alternatives to Black Friday. I’d like to give a shout-out to these campaigns who support artists and makers, independent shops and small businesses at Christmas.

Just a Card Indie Week from 20-24 November 2023

Small Business Saturday on 2 December 2023

Buy my original linocut prints through my online shop or learn how to make linocut prints yourself, through my workshops and online courses.

Enjoy the festive season.

Best wishes



About the author

Michelle Hughes is a North Yorkshire landscape artist. Much of her work depicts the Yorkshire landscape and Yorkshire coast, including the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Michelle loves exploring the British countryside by bike or on foot, camera in hand, capturing ideas for her next linocut prints. Back in her garden studio, Michelle creates simple but stylised silhouettes based on her photographs, and hand carves these shapes into lino. She hand prints with an etching press, using oil-based inks to create tonal blocks of colour.

Michelle’s original linocut prints are limited editions.

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