Sunday, 31 July 2011

Art In Action

Art in Action, held at Waterperry House near Oxford, is an event I've heard a lot about but never got round to visiting due to the travelling distance. We've often visited galleries or artists in their studios but nothing on as large a scale.
Anyway, this year we decided to go. Tickets were bought well in advance - not something I often do as I'm always too concerned about the changeability of English weather and my inclination to change my mind at the last minute but there were good discounts to be had for early booking - and we were all organised, ready to go on Saturday. BUT, midweek our dog fell seriously ill, probably from drinking pondwater, and everything was put on hold. On Friday it didn't seem at all likely that we'd be going but fortunately the tickets were for any day of the event, by Saturday morning Dylan the dog seemed well on the way to recovery and we started to tentatively put together a plan for Sunday.

We were all up and about at an hour that we don't normally manage even during the school week, Dylan taken to spend the day with grandparents and we were off!! Not a lot of traffic on the motorway - Sunday after all - but first a warning for 'debris on carriageway' and then the more alarming 'oncoming vehicle' sign! Oncoming vehicle! On a motorway! Fortunately we didn't meet it and arrived safely at Waterperry House a little later than we'd hoped but still with most of the day ahead.

I'd been told how much there was to see at Art in Action but was still amazed at the space occupied by all the tents and marquees.

We wandered round pretty much randomly at first - past the beekeepers' tent, round the International art section - with amongst other things some stunning brightly coloured tapestries from Peruvian textile artist, Maximo Laura - then the painters, printers and calligraphers sections - till we found one of my favourite artist/illustrators, Jackie Morris, surrounded by her paintings, books, badges and bags. I've met Jackie, a generous welcoming lady, several times before - though nearer to her home in Pembrokeshire.

The next person we wanted to visit was someone she'd introduced me to on Facebook - Catherine Hyde - and whose work I'd tracked down in a Penzance gallery but never met. I'd happily have come away with any of her dark dream-like paintings but restricted myself to buying a book with words by Carol Ann Duffy and wonderful illustrations by Catherine.

Onward then to watch Karen Green demonstrating how she shapes her wonderful copper weathervanes and Liam Reeves blowing glass and showing how goblets are made. Through the textiles and woodwork tents to ceramics where I discovered the deceptively simple but wonderful pots of Charlotte Jones

Just time for a quick walk round the gardens with their stunning herbaceous borders before we headed home past some rather unusual vehicles...

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