Stretching from the city centre to Bamford, Barnsley and the outlying village of Hathersage in the Peak District, Open Up Sheffield is one of the largest and most successful open studio events outside of London. Now in its 21st year, the 2019 edition will feature over 100 exhibitors, who will welcome visitors into their private homes and studios over the course of the festival’s two weekends in May, providing a generous window into the region’s thriving creative community.
For many, the most enjoyable aspect of the free annual event is the opportunity it affords to meet a diverse range of independent artists, makers and craftspeople, to watch them at their work, and to ask questions about their artistic practice and processes. It’s also a chance for members of the public to directly commission bespoke artworks and to sign up for workshops.
This year’s extensive list of exhibitors includes painters, jewellery makers, printmakers, sculptors, potters, silversmiths, glassblowers and textile artists. We’re especially looking forward to visiting the home of photographer Rebecca Nex, where it will be possible to watch her experimental cyanotype process develop; the workshop of contemporary furniture designer Johnny Tyson of Fallen Giants, who trained as a boat builder and makes beautifully crafted pieces of contemporary furniture out of found wood; and the garden of ceramicist Andy van Vilet, where he has built a self-contained studio housing an electric and wood-burning kiln.
At its heart, Open Up Sheffield is an incredibly friendly affair, centred around meeting new people and gaining an insight into their creative world. It’s also a chance to discover studios and arts spaces throughout Sheffield and South Yorkshire that you might not otherwise have stumbled across, and ultimately to experience the city in a whole new light.