Massive festival of art shows Bucks is overflowing with talent

Thommi Freeman, 71 year old artist from Winslow, is taking part in Bucks Open Studios. Middle: Tiggywinkles artist, Barbara Shaw. Bottom: Keep the Light On by Hazel Williams
Thommi Freeman, 71 year old artist from Winslow, is taking part in Bucks Open Studios. Middle: Tiggywinkles artist, Barbara Shaw. Bottom: Keep the Light On by Hazel Williams
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Bucks Open Studios, the largest visual arts event in the county, begins today (Saturday) with more artists and makers taking part than ever before.

It is now in its 28th year and almost 600 creative people will be involved in showcasing their talent at 199 venues free of charge through demonstrations, exhibitions and workshops.

Tiggywinkles artist, Barbara Shaw

Tiggywinkles artist, Barbara Shaw

Visitors can enjoy work by painters, glass workers, basket weavers, metal workers, wood turners, jewellery makers, book makers, print makers and silk makers in their homes, studios and in some cases at joint venues.

Ben Boswell, joint chairman of Bucks Open Studios and photographer said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the event will have more artists and makers participating than ever before. In fact the event has more than doubled in size since 2007 in terms of artists participating and we hope to exceed last year’s record of just over 38,000 visits made to studios and exhibitions by around 12,000 visitors during the fortnight in June.

This is all a testament to the growing popularity of the event as well as a general increase in the urge to be more creative.”

Publicity officer Fiona Pinkney said the event spans a huge variety of disciplines and levels of involvement, from professional artists with international reputations to passionate hobbyists.

Keep the Light On by Hazel Williams

Keep the Light On by Hazel Williams

So whether you are an art enthusiast or just casually interested in art, the event is a great opportunity for a fascinating day out.

She said: “The benefits work both ways. Artists’ work can be isolating so it’s a nice opportunity for them to meet people, show what they do, network and perhaps sell pieces of their work.

“And for the public it’s an opportunity to see artists in action and appreciate the amazing talent we have in Buckinghamshire. There are also demonstrations at some of the venues, and people can have a go themselves, so it could lead to a new hobby.”

Many of the participants this year are new to the event, including patients from the Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

As part of the arts programme at the centre, arts co-ordinator Vivienne Gordon has guided patients to try a wide range of artistic disciplines including pottery, textiles and paintings. Artwork from these sessions will be on display at the Obsidian Art Gallery in Stoke Mandeville during the event fortnight.

Ms Gordon said: “ I am very pleased that patients will be exhibiting their vibrant and inspiring art work for the first time.

The art sessions are a sociable, fun and constructive way of spending patients’ spare time while undergoing an often lengthy hospital stay. In the case of people with spinal cord injuries there is a need to recover self worth and to find out what they can aspire to do. For many on the arts programme, it will lead to a new pastime and for some perhaps a new career when they return home from hospital.”

Many of the event artists are offering refreshments to their visitors, including the Little Kimble Art Group which will be displaying felting, cermaics, paintings and jewellery drawings at the Stewart Hall.

Several artists are grouping together to display their work at one location.

Venues include the Obsidian Art Gallery at the Layby Farm in Stoke Mandeville, St Dunstan’s Church in Monks Risborough, Chilterns MS Centre in Halton and at Haddenham in the Methodist Church, in Manor Farm Barn, and at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital.

The artists, of course, cover the entire county and if you don’t mind travelling further afield you will find them from Milton Keynes and Newport Pagnell all the way down to Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross in this long county of ours. This year’s event runs until Sunday June 23.

Full details of all artists and makers, their addresses and dates and times when they are open can be found on the official website