York Nutcracker Trail 2023

York Nutcracker Trail 2023

I was recently commissioned by York BID to create ten painted 6ft tall nutcracker sculptures for their Nutcracker Trail 2023. The trail runs across York city centre from 16 November 2023 – January 4 2024. The sculpture trail is the first time that a single artist has been commissioned by York BID to create bespoke designs for each of the ten sculptures. It’s also the first time I have ever painted an entire sculpture trail too! York is a magical city at Christmas, famous for it’s cosy cobbled streets and expansive Christmas market, to be asked to design an entire art trail for the city during it’s most enchanting season has been incredible.

The Designs

5 of the designs are based on York at Christmas time, featuring festive iconography such as baubles, gingerbread men and snowmen and highlighting landmarks of the city in Winter.  One design features the transformation of Merchants Hall from a blizzard at night to a snow covered morning, whilst another shows Santa and his reindeer flying over the Shambles. 

A further 5 nutcrackers were designed inspired by drawings from schools and community groups including York Mind, Wigginton Primary School, St Wilfred’s RC Primary School and Changing Lives.

One design inspired by submissions from the charity MySight features an intricate tactile snowflake design that has been devised so that the multi-sensory design can be enjoyed by members of the public with visual impairments. 

This is the first time that I have created a tactile sculpture for public display and I’m really pleased with how it’s come out and it’s role in making the trail more accessible. This is also the first time I’ve painted an entire trail and it was an enjoyable challenge to take the same shape ten times over and come up with something new to paint on each one whilst remaining true to the Christmas in York theme and incorporating the designs from the community groups along the way. 

Maps of the free trail can be collected from the Visit York information centre or viewed online on the York Bid site. 

My Sculpture Painting Journey So Far

Painting the sculptures for this trail now brings the total of sculptures I have painted up to a whopping 29 with the charity amount fundraiser through the sales of my artworks at auction now exceeds £102,000 as of November 2023. 

I absolutely love sculpture painting and seeing how much people love them when they are out in the streets is always a really rewarding feeling. It’s great to see them adding so much festivity to York’s historic streets and it makes me even more excited for the Snooks with Books 2024 trail where 22 other artists will join me in creating bespoke literary themed artworks on the characterful Snook sculpture that Make It York commissioned me to design. 

York Nutcracker Trail 2023 Gingerbread Sculpture