I spent this weekend at Art in Action at Waterperry in Oxfordshire having lots of arty fun. Art in Action is the biggest visual arts festival in the UK, it runs for 4 days every July and features 400 artists and craftspeople demonstrating their trade, exhibiting their work and teaching practical classes. I visited many times when I was little and have been every year for the last 4, I think that it probably helped inspire my creativity and interest in design from a young age and I feel a bit indebted to it. The whole event is run by volunteers and I decided this year that it was time to give back so I volunteered to work on Saturday and join the team of 600 volunteers and then I went again on Sunday just as a visitor.
Art in Action is held in the grounds of Waterperry House and Gardens which is a beautiful setting that provides the perfect backdrop for such an event. The show covers everything from sculpture to illustration, woodwork to textiles, jewellery to painting and everything in between. All the demonstrators set up studios in their respective marquees and its so cool to be able to actually talk to the artists and see their processes first hand.
As a volunteer I was posted in the Best of the Best tent which contained a selection of the best pieces from across the whole show and from all the different disciplines, as voted for by the artists. I really enjoyed my day but I did feel a bit annoying because I kept having to tell people to take their ice creams outside or stop touching the art (sorry everyone, but art is valuable).
Here are some of my favourite pieces from the show – my own little best of the best:
^ I loved the way that this piece looked like a rusty old scrap of metal when I first looked at it but then I saw the detail and the fact that it is in fact a lovely landscape.
^ This piece is particularly appropriate because I have been obsessively watching the Tour de France over the last two weeks – Go Froome!
I had such a lovely weekend, with my Grandma and my Mum, both helping out and looking round the show as a visitor. It’s always such a pleasure to see so much creativity in one place and such an enthusiastic crowd of people visiting. My souvenir this year was a lovely postcard from Hannah McVicar who studied at Falmouth years ago! Hopefully I’ll be able to follow in her footsteps – although there is no graphic design tent at Art in Action so I’ll have to take up some other arty skill in order to fulfil my dream of demonstrating there one day.