AN ARTIST whose latest works were inspired by post-lockdown walks in the Yorkshire Dales says Christmas sales have taken her by surprise.

Michelle Hughes’s linocut prints have been snapped up as festive gifts as increasingly more people have lent support to local independent businesses.

The Holgate-based artist who launched online lessons to share her craft during lockdown said she had noticed a change in people’s buying habits this year.York Press:

“Christmas 2020 has surprised me,” said Michelle. “It’s usually a quieter time for me. Art can be very personal and customers usually buy my larger linocut prints for themselves. This year is very different.

“People have bought gifts that are extra special and more meaningful. They’ve made a conscious decision to support independent businesses too.

“Many of my landscape prints have been bought for family as they evoke childhood memories or special places. I created a series of smaller more affordable pieces too, which have been snapped up as gifts.

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“I usually sell my work in person. Selling online is hard but it means I’ve been able to reach a wider audience and they’ve been posted all over the UK and even as far as New Zealand. It seems many people have connections with Yorkshire.

“I’ve loved sharing how I make my work and the landscapes that have inspired me.

“People want art in their lives, now more than ever. That connection and sense of community has spurred me on to keep creating new work and given me hope for the future.”

Michelle launched a new range of prints in autumn after gathering ideas from the region’s landscape including Littondale, Kettlewell, and Ingleborough.

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Each linocut design is made using a separate hand-carved lino block for each colour.

Michelle carves and prints in her York studio near Holgate windmill, using oil-based inks from local family-owned company Hawthorn Printmaking Supplies.

These designs complement her other works capturing Yorkshire locations, from coastal prints of Robin Hood’s Bay and Port Mulgrave, to the Moors beauty spots Roseberry Topping and the Hole of Horcum.

Alongside her multi coloured landscape prints, Michelle also has a series of smaller one colour prints of birds, animals, coastal locations and landscapes.

She added: “In 2021 I’m looking forward to taking part in York Open Studios in April. It will be different but I’m blessed with lots of space and have lots of ideas of how I can show people how I make my prints in a safe way.

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“In spring and summer, I hope to be able to spend time exploring The Lake District and Scotland, firstly to celebrate my 50th but also to develop a new series of prints.

“While in-person workshops are still challenging I’ll be developing a following on to my beginners online linocut course and showing people how to make multi-block prints.”