“Inspired by the simple principle that people are fascinated when artists and craftsmen openly demonstrate their skills and discuss their work, Art in Action was born. In 1977, 51 artists and musicians took part and 14,000 visitors arrived. Today Art in Action held in the beautiful grounds of Waterperry House and Gardens in Oxfordshire, welcomes approximately 25,000 people over four days.
Artists from a vast array of disciplines come to Art in Action, set-up their studios in marquees, and work, offering visitors a rare opportunity to observe the creative process first hand and to speak to the artists.
Chosen on merit, entry is by invitation. Artists are given space to work; free from commercial pressure they can relax, enjoy working, and meet visitors. Art works are for sale, often directly from the artist.”
This year I was very fortunate to be invited to demonstrate my creative process to the public at this wonderful event.
Daunted initially by the size of my space I asked the organisers if I could share my stand with a fellow jeweller and friend, Ros Millar. Happily there were no objections and so began a wonderful adventure over 5 days for the both of us in the Oxfordshire countryside.
With months of rain and waterlogged ground it was touch and go whether the show was still going to go ahead. Adamant to not let both visitors and demonstrators down, the organisers persevered and it proved to be a successful decision. On Wednesday 18th July we set off in my Mini down the M40 towards Oxford with an entire studio in the back! Surprisingly spacious when good packing is employed.
Our shared stand which doubled as a studio and shop.
On Thursday 19th July the show opened to the public at 10am, we were impressed by the number of people already making their way around the metal and jewellery work tent so early on. It just goes to show the immense interest people have in the creative process of what we do on a daily basis. Visitors were keen to watch Ros and I as we demonstrated our different production methods, asking lots of questions and handling the various samples and materials we had laid out.
It also added another dimension to our jewellery – people could appreciate the work that goes into making something by hand. There is always so much more to it than just the value of the materials used, as our customers saw.
My prototypes and sketchbooks show the design process – from ideas to the finished products.
I was demonstrating the folding and forming of metal, from flat sheet into three-dimensional forms as used in my Unfurled collection. My sketchbook proved to be very popular with people, who liked seeing the genesis of ideas through drawings as well as the many prototypes I had, which helped to refine the designs.
What I found most pleasing about the whole experience was the number of young children who attended the event, curious about how we made things and why we did things a certain way and what tools we used to help us. Hopefully I inspired a few along the way and showed them that you can do what you love and make a career out of it!
Ros demonstrating the cuttlefish bone casting technique and her jewellery pieces for sale.
Ros demonstrated the technique of using cuttlefish bone to create molds and cast directly from them into silver. The natural contours of the cuttlefish are impressed upon the metal during the casting, giving each piece a unique texture and finish. The process is quite serendipitous as you never quite know exactly how a piece will turn out once the molten metal is poured into the cuttlefish bone mold.
To summerise, Art in Action was a great event to be part of this year and very different from other shows I’ve taken part in. Visitors and demonstrators alike were so welcoming and supportive and it was nice to be part of such a creative microcosm. I’m pleased to say we’ve been invited back for next years show and i can’t wait!
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This post was written by admin-kovanovic