KUNSTHUIS Gallery's Christmas show, Shades Of Clay, opens on Friday at Dutch House, Mill Green Farm, Crayke, with a focus on cutting-edge British and international ceramicists.

The exhibition will be launched with a Christmas celebration evening from 6pm to 9pm and will run alongside the gallery's Christmas Pop Up Shop, already up and running until December 20. The ceramics will be accompanied by Kate Siddle's abstract paintings.

Noted for pushing the boundaries of their creative practice, the ceramicists have been selected by Dutch House co-owner Cecile Creemers to chime with her belief that "ceramics can engage, inspire and invite the contemplation of the process of design".

"In Shades Of Clay, Jill Ford, Richard Baxter, Katy O'Neil, Fiona Mazza, Eric Moss, Andile Schoellhron, Chris Utley and Audrey Hammett challenge the versatility of clay, both as a creative, functional and sculptural medium, exploring the properties of a material that is both universal and sustainable, while also exploring the dialogues of form and surface," says Cecile.

"These concerns are developed through practical experimentation, where the artists test a variety of techniques to explore different methods of manipulating materials and surfaces."

Jill Ford throws simple and elegantly shaped pots on the wheel, creating tall standing forms and larger, wide, open bowls. Porcelain is chosen for its inherent characteristics: smoothness, whiteness, translucency and its appearance of delicate fragility that belies great strength.

Fiona Mazza's work is individually hand built or slip cast and carved, then coloured slips are sponged on to create a subtle textured finish. Richard Baxter's pieces range from stylishly functional domestic earthenware pottery to fluid porcelain bowls and ceramic designs inspired by waves and strata.

"We invite the opportunity to explore our diverse selection of contemporary ceramics on show by ceramicists who are exhibiting extensively throughout Britain and abroad, including permanent displays at CoCA, York Art Gallery's Centre of Ceramic Art, such as Emily Stubbs and Katie Braida, as we seek to celebrate and recognise the importance of ceramics today," says Cecile.

Kate Siddle's Summer Breeze

Kate Siddle's paintings boast bold abstractions and shades of colour that evoke the presence of landscape and the sensual and physical experience of being by the sea or walking through woods or moorland. Each is developed through a process of imagination and memory.

The Kunsthuis Christmas Pop-Up Shop presents handmade, limited-edition items by arts and crafts makers for seven weeks over the festive season, showcasing contemporary interiors, jewellery, handmade books, ceramics, table accessories, prints and Christmas-inspired pieces.

Friday's Christmas celebration of Shades of Clay and the Pop-Up Shop promises mulled wine, mince pies, waffles, roasted chestnuts, a fire pit and Christmas lights and the chance to "shop, explore and experience all Kunsthuis Gallery has to offer over the festive season".

Kunsthuis Gallery and Dutch House, on the road between Crayke and Brandsby, are open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm; admission is free. For those who love walking, a circular pathway runs through Dutch House and into the fields and woodland areas.