Shock in the arts’ world normally revolves around works that are pushing the boundaries of decency, but this time around it is the demise of arguably the best and largest visual arts and crafts event on the calendar: Art In Action.
The fortieth and last Art In Action event is next week (14th to 17th July) at Waterperry, near Oxford. We have visited annually for the last decade as some 400 of the best artists and craftspeople from across the country demonstrate their skills from just about every artistic discipline. Hammering from forges can be heard as blacksmiths manipulate metal to produce the most elegant creations of torchieres to eye-catching gates through music and song to fine artists and weavers.
Seeing and talking with the exhibitors as they work is a refreshing change from the pinstriped gallerists who simply want a sale, and provides a great insight into a different world.
Watching the creation of art and craft is only a part of the event, there are forty different practical classes for visitors (3,000 places) to try their hands at new skills; potting, enamelling, glass engraving, painting, the list goes on and on.
The show has hosted up to over 25,000 visitors annually and is run by over 600 volunteers with military precision, but in a very friendly manner so car parking to loos present no problems.
The extensive Waterperry Gardens are all a part of the show and should not be missed, they are renowned for their classical herbaceous borders but have so many other niches, modern planting and vistas combining to create a magical experience.