A few weeks ago I went to the open day of Pica Studios in York to meet some of the artists and see the workspaces in this creative co-op. Set within an 18th Century print works, the productive setting lends itself to its current purpose - housing the workshops of eighteen artists, makers, writers and musicians.
Beautifully light and filled with inspiration, for the last 2 months the space has become a hub of creativity from some well known locals such as artist Mark Hearld, ceramicist Emily Stubbs and jeweller Evie Leach.
It is fantastic to see how everyone shares the space and works so closely together. Mark shares a room with fellow artist Lesley Birch. I asked her what it was like and she told me "It's great sharing the space - we can both be in here and be working quietly, not speaking for hours. Then I can turn to Mark and say "hey what do you think to this?" and we ask each other for advice and thoughts".
Looking around, you can see the diversity of the makers with homewares in one corner, the other side of the desk covered in pastels and sketches, a dressmaker next to a sculptor with a papercut artist nestled in between. The upper floor houses a print room that is filled to the rafters with drawers and drawers full of letterpress fonts that made this typography lover go weak at the knees.
The makers all share a sense of camaraderie and watching them interact they feel more like a family than work mates. Amongst the paint brushes and half finished projects lie empty wine bottles that hint at the social side of proceedings that occur as darkness falls.
I am fascinated by visiting peoples studios and seeing how they work and the processes involved, so this was such a treat and I left feeling so inspired. Walking down that little cobbled back street I would otherwise have never known what incredible work was being produced just a stones throw away from the famed Minster, and I love that!
Hopefully this will open up the door for more co-op opportunities in York. Feeling the energy in there and seeing the artists bouncing off each other is a wonderful thing and shared workspaces are definitely the way forward, the creativity is infectious!
I look forward to seeing more from these fantastic artists and I'm hoping they won't notice if I sneak in and work from a corner behind a canvas or something, I'd be happy to be the tea lady...
Words and photos by Kayti Peschke.