Visit artists from textile designers to ceramicists at the invitation of Esther Lafferty executive director of Artweeks

The biggest open studios event in the UK, with more than 400 free exhibitions to see, will be launched across Oxfordshire on Saturday.

Oxfordshire Artweeks runs for nearly a month and celebrates the county’s visual arts. Visitors may well be amazed at the breadth and quality of things created so close to home.

Potters and painters, designers and textile artists, sculptors, wood-turners, silversmiths and furniture-makers will showcase their crafts; from fashion to furniture, collage, mosaic, fabric, film and canvas.

For many people, food and art are two of the greatest pleasures in life, so it will be win-win when they’re combined. Caroline Chappell is passionate about cooking and painting and, with the idea of creating a cookery book, added text to mixed media drawings to create art prints. (City venue 195, May 2-25) Dining also inspires potter Charlotte Storrs who, in her garden studio in Culham, makes white stoneware with simple surface textures and a zen calmness at mealtimes.

Since visiting potters in Japan, she makes handles for teapots and trays with the Japanese Chocolate Vine traditionally used for weaving in the Far East. (South venue 331, May 16-25) Ceramics are not just for the kitchen. There’s something charming for every shelf, from three-dimensional seaside scenes by Alison Jones that would tempt the most avid surfer from coastal white horses (South venue 324, May 16-23) to funky porcelain monster figurines by Kina Ceramics. Kina Gorska works in a studio in Yarnton, a village known for its early Bronze Age ceramic findings, and will be open for Artweeks (North venue 131, May 2-24).

Working from Magdalen Road Studios, one of Oxford’s most vibrant art centres (City venue 166, May 16-27), ceramicist Rose Wallace recalls traditional Staffordshire Flatbacks, crafting figures from casts of contemporary packaging and domestic ephemera for a multi-artist exhibition in the hidden cloisters of St John the Evangelist Church in Iffley Road (City venues 160 & 161, May 9-17).

These appealing pieces are quietly narrative, capturing the minutiae of life, and are often commissioned for the mantelpiece to mark an occasion.

Over in Chipping Norton (North venue 41, May 2-10), Crabby Taylor fires her raku ceramics at 1000C in an old metal bin and then smothers them in smouldering sawdust for several days, to creates her stylish pieces, including a signature upside down design, in circular shapes, using clays to give texture and colour.

The Turrill Sculpture Garden, an oasis of green tranquillity behind Summertown Library (City venue 259, May 2-23), has frost-proof ceramic sculpture, garden pots and bird baths designed by a number of ceramicists. And Bicester Sculpture Group will showcase their work in the studio and garden of the Old Vicarage by St Edburg’s Church (North venue 98, May 2-10), in stone, metal, clay and wood.

Over in Toker’s Green (South venue 403, May 16-25), sculptor Richard Goldsmith proves concrete can be as beautiful as marble: art meets precision engineering, in sleek and stylish pieces in concrete and sheet metal that are tactile and rich in colour and shine. Josh Rose, owner of new Oxford gallery Love Your Plane (City venue 167, May 2-23), has turned flat-pack furniture into an art form, printing artists’ work on to plywood, creating hard-wearing parts that are easy to assemble but add flair to any room.

The Oxford Times:
Home work: Charlotte Storrs

Camilla Sopwith’s studio in Goring-on-Thames has butterflies and birds hand-printed on to cushions (South venue 399, May 16-23); in Upton are rag-rugs (South venue 368, May 16-25), and Bampton offers painted silk cushions and lamp-shades by Frances Williams (North venue 120, May 2-9).

Miesje Chafer, exhibiting in Cowley (City venue 180, May 9-17), screen prints bold and colourful designs on to fabric; sometimes geometric, others organic. As well as cotton and linen, Miesje uses leather, wool, neoprene and silk to create tactile, functional art.

In Uffington, potters Jo Marshall and Louise Remington come together with textile and mixed media artist Trudi James in the Tom Brown’s School Museum (South venue 354, May 16-25) to create stylish lamps.

In Chadlington, figurative artist Jill Colchester creates Original-Art lamps, with the human figure blacked on to simple paper shapes (North venue 63, May 2-10).

Wolvercote glass artist Philip Dove creates modern and classical designs for windows, doors and panels, using traditional methods (City venue 296, May 9-17). Summertown’s contemporary glass artist, Vital Peeters, opens his studio to show the circular sweeps of his glass art, commissioned for buildings all over the world (City venue 273, May 9-17).

Oxfordshire Artweeks 
Venues and studios across Oxfordshire
May 2-25  
artweeks.org