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York Open Studios 2021

10-11 and 17-18 July 2021

A huge thank you to everyone who visited my studio over the two weekends. It was an absolute joy to be chatting all things inky in-person again. I love showing people how I make my prints. I've soooo missed the buzz of that. I've loved every minute of being a bit more 'normal'.

Celebrating 20 years of York Open Studios, 146 artists took part across 95 venues in York.

With things as they are, I took the decision to do the event on my own without help this year. It was a little stressful to start with, especially the extra COVID-19 measures in place. I was limited to 6 people inside and 30 inside, so I needed to keep a close eye on everything. I’ve also been quite a hermit and barely had anyone in my house.

For me, visitor numbers were 50% down on previous years. But that did mean that there was plenty of space and lots more of me to chat to everyone that came!.

Studio and pop up gallery

A speedy tour of my studio and house, aka pop up gallery, all set up for York Open Studios.

My print studio

Pop up gallery. Aka, my kitchen dining room!

Online courses and workshops

I created 3 boards to show my courses and workshops. My online courses are self-paced learning and you can start at any time. I’m planning to start my studio workshops in September.

I'm just finalising dates and putting some details together to ensure that everyone is fully informed and feels comfortable in my studio.

Behind the scenes

It takes a long time to get ready for an event like this. Firstly there’s hand-printing any designs that are running low and ensuring they have time to dry. Then, there’s mounting, signing and numbering each one.

Once my work was ready, I worked out how to hang everything, labeled it all and turned my kitchen dining room into a pop up gallery. Behind closed doors it's always chaos, with my clearer out furniture and packaging and things piled high!

I usually stand in my kitchen when I’m doing open studio events but as numbers were restricted to 6 inside I decided to make an outside 'shop' for YOS. A good excuse to do something I’d been meaning to do for ages, make a better log store. It also meant I could keep an eye on numbers in the studio and house on my own. It worked! This little fella kept me company all afternoon while I was making it. To be fair it was the bugs that it was after. But it is the same one with a wonky foot, that's already built 2 nests. I think it's on number 3.

Each morning I was frantically blowing up balloons and hanging them on street corners.

A huge thank you to my neighbours, who showed their support in many different ways. Steve next door made my print stands from scraps of wood. ‘The phantom sign maker’, made these fabulous street signs. They’ve been making different ones throughout the pandemic and brighten everyone's days.


Another difference between an April and July event, my garden. There was a lot of garden chat, and courgette envy. My silk trees or Albizia julibrissin Rosea, that I grew from seed, were firm favourites.

A taste of Yorkshire & beyond, showing a roundup of my linocut prints.

Original linocut prints inspired by British landscapes & nature. Hand-printed linocut prints from £25.

Hot off the press!

I’ve been working on several new linocut prints for the event. Three new coastal prints and two new landscape prints. For each one I used the multi-block method, which I teach in my new online course. I laid out each of the stages of making them in my studio.

Everyone enjoyed learning how I make my linocut prints. I use the multi-block method for my linocut prints. The design for each colour is usually carved into a separate block.

I use the multi-block method for my linocut prints. The design for each colour is usually hand-carved into a separate block. Sometimes I ink up 2 different colours on the same block. Although this helps registration (how the printed colours line up) it can be fiddly to ink and result in uneven inking.

NEW Malham Cove, Yorkshire dales linocut print

I used 4 hand-carved lino blocks to print this design. One to print each colour.

Malham Cove is a huge natural limestone cliff, which was once a spectacular waterfall. At the top of the cove is a limestone pavement and the landscape opens with panoramic views over Malham and Malhamdale.

See how it was made on my Malham Cove printmaking page.

NEW Swaledale II, Yorkshire dales linocut print

I used 5 hand-carved lino blocks to print this design.

This is one of my favourite views in Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The area is known for its locally known 'cow'us' that dot the fields (these are stone cow houses rather than barns), alongside the drystone walls.

From Reeth, I cycled along to Muker and Twaite, stopping for lunch here. From there I cycled on to Angram and Keld, then up to Tan Hill.

See how it was made on my Swaledale II printmaking page.

NEW Yorkshire Coast series

For my new Yorkshire Coast series I’ve created prints three new linocut prints:

Scarborough, Yorkshire Coast linocut print

See how it was made on my Scarborough printmaking page.

Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire Coast linocut print

See how it was made on my Whitby Abbey printmaking page.

Robin Hood’s Bay III, Yorkshire Coast linocut print

Read a step-by-step blog of how is was made in my Robin Hood's Bay III blog.

All new prints have now been added to my online shop.

I also have a few prints framed that are available for pick up from my studio. Please get in touch if there is anything you may have seen at the event that you can't find online.

A few comments in my visitors book

“Thank you so much for being so generous with your space and knowledge. Lovely and very inspiring."

"WOW! JUST WOW! Keep doing what you’re doing!"

"Fascinating to see the process. I like the views too."

"As above. Mind bending to follow each print through the stages. Wonderful.

Thank you for sharing your art with us. Such talent."

"Really nice and original!"

A few lovely thing overheard

"I bet you're a brilliant teacher, you’re so organised!"

"I really love your work. You’ve got a lovely quality of line."

"I really like the simplicity of it."

"The little hedgehog is gorgeous."

What next?

Save the date for next year. 2/3, 9/10 April 2022.

My next job is to apply for it, so fingers crossed I get in next year.

My next event will be the York Printmakers Print Fair. York Cemetery Chapel, 25 & 26th September 2021. The Autumn Print Fair includes two exhibitions with hundreds of original prints. Many of the printmakers will be there to chat about their work, and share their enthusiasm about printmaking.

York Printmakers has over 50 members, all making original prints in different styles and techniques. If you are looking for an original present for yourself or somebody else, cards and prints will be on sale, with prices ranging from £2 to £300.

The print fair is an opportunity to meet local artists, find inspiration for your own creative activities, and see and buy original art work in a lovely setting.

Hope to see you there.

Thank you again for your support.



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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