Artists open their studios to the public

Harrogate artist Chloe Holt. Picture: Richard Doughty
Harrogate artist Chloe Holt. Picture: Richard Doughty
  • The annual North Yorkshire Open Studios takes place next month. Yvette Huddleston spoke to three of the participating artists.
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Now in its eleventh year, the North Yorkshire Open Studios will again be bringing together more than a hundred artists working in many different styles and materials who will be opening up their workplaces to the public over two weekends next month.

Artists across the whole of the North Yorkshire region will be sharing their space and their work in studios sited in a range of locations from garden sheds to living rooms, tepees and converted dairies.

Ceramicist Anna Lambert, who is based in Crosshills near Keighley, has participated in the Open Studios event most years since its inception. She has been creating ceramic pieces for 35 years and her work is inspired by outdoor places. “I go out into the landscape and draw and then I use linocuts to make designs on the pots with lots of colour,” she says. “I like moorland and rough places. I also like edgelands, the edges of villages that are a bit run down and rough but have their own kind of beauty.”

For her, the Open Studios is a chance to connect with the public. “You meet new people who aren’t necessarily familiar with your work which is interesting and it is a chance to show people the work-making environment,” she says. “There will be lots of people who come to just look around; they don’t want to buy anything and that’s fine. It’s all about sharing really.”

Landscape artist Sarah Garforth is based in the area of outstanding beauty that is Upper Nidderdale and has been working as a professional artist for the past twenty years. Her paintings invariably begin with a walk in the countryside she loves.

“I am lucky that I have so much on my doorstep, I never run out of inspiration,” she says. “I tend to do a lot of sketching and photography outside and then I bring it back into the studio.” When she is not painting in her Ramsgill studio – which is always open, although for the Open Studio weekends she will be based in Pateley Bridge – she takes road trips to other areas, frequently to Wales and Staithes but more recently she visited Ireland for the first time earlier this year. “I travelled three and a half thousand miles in two months, predominantly along the coastline,” she says. “So my Open Studios work this year is very much a mixture of Nidderdale and Ireland.” The paintings she made in response to Ireland are, she says, quite different her usual work. “I work mostly in oil on board and to make it quite rugged and rough, it is probably looser than my normal work which can be quite dainty and ethereal.”

Fast-rising talent Chloe Holt, the youngest ever woman artist to be elected to the Royal Cambrian Academy, relocated from Chester to Harrogate a year ago and will be taking part in the Open Studios for the first time. She has been a painter, working in oil, for 14 years since she left university where she studied textiles and fine art. “My work has always been about mixing media, surfaces and colour,” she says. “And it is to do with memory and passing time.” Her studio is located above her partner Chris Holmes’ antique shop and she says that much of her work now is “about exploring those small historical objects and how they are connected with our lives.” She is looking forward to welcoming visitors into her studio space. “As well as putting my name on the map in Yorkshire, for me the Open Studios is an opportunity to educate, understand and encourage the arts,” she says. “And to give the public an insight into how an artist’s mind works,”

• North Yorkshire Open Studios, June 6 and 7 and 13 and 14.