Next week, this wonderful festival of fine art and crafts returns to Waterperry. Now in its 36th year, the festival runs for four days, and last year attracted a 25,000-strong crowd. Visitors are given the opportunity to observe the creative process first-hand as 150 artists and craftspeople demonstrate their skills. A vast array of techniques and mediums are demonstrated, including: calligraphy, ceramics, glass, illustration, metalwork, jewellery, painting, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and woodwork. Sarah Morpeth will be demonstrating the intricate art of cut paperwork. Her starting point for each piece is a phrase or text that has inspired her which she then combines with images and motifs inspired by the wildlife and countryside that surround her Northumberland studio. For example in a work entitled A Violet, the phrase ‘A violet by a mossy stone half-hidden from the eye’ is cut our and beautifully integrated into the delicate tracery of leaves, butterflies, bees and flowers, pictured.

Also inspired by the natural world is sculptor Suzie Marsh, who is showing with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. Shepherd established the foundation back in 1984 in order to give something back to the animals that as an artist he had depicted. Marsh works whole-heartedly in the spirit of the foundation: giving royalties from each of her pieces to animal charities. She works in ceramic, then casts each piece to create her final sculptures. Two of the pieces she is showing are Kimba and Chinja, a small pair of elephants, pictured, trotting along with determined confidence. Marsh will be working on a second Kimba, this time as a life-sized elephant calf and on warthogs and hippos. The Newcomers’ Tent has been introduced this year. The intention behind it is to give a platform to talented artists who are just starting out. Do seek out Seren Jones’ delightful witty head and shoulder portraits of Welsh women, past and present.

And there is the market hosting over one hundred designer-makers, plus the opportunities to buy quality art and craft materials.

In addition to the British talent on show, there is also an international dimension. This includes the Fattoh sons from Cairo who will be hand-making tents, a unique tradition established by their great-grandfather. The techniques they employ include a mixture of patchwork, appliqué and stitching. Their designs range from formal Islamic geometric patterns to figures and animals. The latter including the antics of Goha, a folkloric wise-fool, who resolves disputes and situations despite himself. One of these stories, Goha and his Donkey, is pictured below. In it the boy and the donkey comically debate who should ride on whom. With so much ‘art in action’ to choose from it can be hard to decide what to see or do first. This makes the Best of the Best marquee a good starting point. Each artist taking part in Art in Action has been asked to choose the piece they regard as their best. These are all shown together in a single marquee, providing a great overview of what is on.

As well as the visual arts and crafts, there is also a wide range of music and performance on offer ranging from the baroque and classical, Indian music and Bangla dance, to the rendition of traditional and contemporary ballads from Zimbabwe. Both children and adults will enjoy time spent in the story-telling tent and also the wide range of artisanal food, wines and beverages that are on sale.

There are lectures, talks and workshops too, including those by Linda Proud, the author of the acclaimed Botticelli Trilogy, who is running a workshop both for writers of all levels, from beginner to more advanced. Art in Action runs from Thursday, 18 to Sunday, July 21. Entry tickets include access to Waterperry’s beautiful gardens where amongst other things there is a delightful permanent sculpture trail and the most magnificent herbaceous border.

Waterperry House & Gardens Thursday, July 18 to Sunday, July 21 Tickets: £16 (£15 online), children £5 (£4) from 020 7381 3192 Visit