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Saturday, Aug 20th

Last update:11 Aug 13:13 GMT

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Out and About

Northamptonshire open studios


Northamptonshire Open Studios is the largest visual arts event in and around the county; now celebrating it’s 15th year. Artists invite you into their studios during the first two weeks of September to witness the inspiration and motivation that drives them to create. Step inside a pottery, discuss carving or watch demonstrations; the free full colour brochure will show you the huge range of activities featured.

Each year the event begins with a Launch Exhibition, this year hosted by Northampton Museum & Art Gallery. The Exhibition begins on 27th Aug - 9th Oct. This is an ideal place to view the range of work available. For details please pick up a brochure or visit the website at to get the latest information.

Local Gallery Commissions Ruskin Students to bring the Cornish Coast to Oxford!


porthleven_studentsAfter competing fiercely against other Oxford based student artists, four Ruskin students won the prize of a week stay in luxury 4 star accommodation in the Cornish harbour of Porthleven, plus the use of a very unusual art studio; a former lifeboat house. Commissioned by the O3 Gallery to make artwork for an exhibition that will take place from 27th Aug – 25th Sept 2011, the students spent a week in July exploring and responding to their temporary environment.

Rob Branigan, Joseph Bransfield, Claire Davis and James Lomax may have only just finished their first year at Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, however they will all show artwork in a professional exhibition at the O3 Gallery that brings a breath of sea air to the landlubber city of Oxford.

The student’s artwork ranges in style from large scale expressive paintings by Joseph Bransfield where the paint is dripped and thrown onto the canvas, to installation work that combines both traditional and new materials created by Oxford resident, James Lomax. Describing himself as an artist who asks questions about our being; human values, political convictions and peoples’ beliefs, James is taking this opportunity to examine Porthleven’s ‘real’ history:
“After researching the history of the harbour I became fascinated with Porthleven’s stories that related to real people and explored the nature of these against the idyllic setting of this beautiful place. The whole experience has really been a fantastic opportunity and an extremely interesting project, one that I am delighted to have been part of, in fact, we all are!” James Lomax.

Ensuring an exuberant mix of styles and interpretations, the students’ art will be exhibited alongside work by artists local to Porthleven, presented by Porthleven’s leading art space, The Customs House Gallery.

Celebrate our heritage open days at Leamington Spa art gallery & museum throughout August

art_cart_activity_participantsChildren of all ages can take part in a fun free Art Cart activity at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum where they can make a postcard sized artwork inspired by their favourite building in Leamington Spa. This will then be on display in the Royal Priors on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September as part of a special “Heritage Open Days” exhibition. Events Officer Nadia Wazera, says „We hope that children will enjoy creating pictures of their favourite buildings and seeing them as part of this exhibition. There are so many beautiful buildings with stunning architecture in Leamington Spa that they will be spoiled for choice!‟ The mobile Art Cart is available during normal opening hours. Children of all ages can create their artwork using free craft materials. The Art Cart is also used to offer families free art and craft sessions in the galleries on every last Saturday of each month. Heritage Open Days takes place from Thursday 8 – Sunday 11 September this year and celebrates England‟s architecture and culture giving visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Visitors have a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy these sometimes hidden, often curious places in Warwick district and across the UK - completely free of charge. Heritage Open Days in Leamington Spa are always incredibly popular. The highest number of visits was recorded in 2010. Again for 2011, the event offers both pre-booked and drop in events that demonstrate the cultural and historic diversity which exists in Warwick District which are free of charge. Heritage Open Days leaflets will be available to pick up from locations such as the Royal Priors exhibition, tourist information centres, libraries and Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum.

Students forge ahead!

clement__clock1Blacksmithing students at Warwickshire College’s Moreton Morrell centre showed their spark in a recent competition.
Fifteen students on the blacksmithing diploma took a sweep of awards at the recent Malvern Three Counties show, winning prizes in the live competitions, scooping first, second and third places in the ‘student static’ competition and prizes in the ‘traditional static’ and ‘contemporary static’ competitions.
The students made a range of designs, all individually inspired by heritage, art and their own interests and passions. The designs included; sculptural pieces, tables, a clock, a fire pit, a staircase, a mirror, candlesticks, gates and wall hangings. Some students sold their pieces at the show, whilst others had already been commissioned to make pieces to order.
Student Clement Dubessay became the Overall Reserve Show Champion, for his clock. He also came first in the student competition and second in the professional contemporary competition.
He said: “My clock is an old, traditional design with a contemporary twist. I have designed it as a gift for my parents, as a thank you for helping me get through the course. My hard work has paid off, I’m surprised, but really pleased to win this award.”
Blacksmithing tutor Michelle Parker commented: “The group have been excellent this year, they have worked really hard, even coming in on their days off to get the work finished. I’m very proud of them, they have achieved a really high standard of work for the level of course.”
There are still places on the blacksmithing course, starting in September 2011 at Moreton Morrell. Visit for more information

Welsh cider festival...pip, pip!

international-craft-cider-festivalwebWhen it comes to cider, one swallow makes a summer, as cider lovers and makers from across Europe descend on Llancaiach Fawr near Caerphilly in the South Wales Valleys on the weekend of August 12-14 for a celebration of the craft of cider making as Wales hosts the first ever International Craft Cider Festival (tickets are now on sale from

As with artisan foods generally, there has been a huge rise in popularity in craft ciders in recent years, and the festival brings that interest to life, with ciders and perries from England, particularly the West Country, the Hesse region of Germany, Asturias in Spain, Brittany and Normandy in France, and of course the locally produced ciders of Wales.
The festival is being put together by the Welsh Perry and Cider Society. The Society’s Development Officer, Cressida Slater said: “Wales is proud to host the very first International Craft Cider Festival in the beautiful grounds of the 16th century Llancaiach Fawr manor house, reflecting the increasing interest in cider and its traditional production. We’ll have some of the best ciders in the world for people to sample and buy, and we’ll create a great cosmopolitan atmosphere with live music on the bandstand and a real flavour of the countries involved.”
Amongst the ciders on show will be Hogan’s Dry Cider from Warwickshire, Best in Show at the recent Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition in the US, plus the Ross on Wye Cider and Perry Company, Champion Cidermaker at the recent Big Apple Cider and Perry Trials at Putley. Visitors will also get the chance to explore the traditions and cultures behind the variety of regional cidermaking at the show, meet the producers, and develop an even greater appreciation of the drink. There is also a full music programme throughout the weekend featuring an international line-up of bands.

Cider has featured prominently throughout history:
  • in the 14th Century children were baptised in cider as it was considered cleaner than the water
  • farm workers’ wages in earlier times included four pints of cider a day
  • at one time, 365 different varieties of cider apples were grown
  • each year more than 130 million gallons of cider are produced in the UK
  • 45% of all the apples grown in the UK now used here for cider making *
Llancaiach Fawr is particularly appropriate as a venue for the festival, as the orchard of the 16th century manor house contains varieties of apples that are now rarely found, such as Decio, Paradise, and Catshead, amongst others.
The festival is one of the many events in the Love The Summer Love The Valleys campaign, part of Valleys Heart and Soul, a three year campaign which aims to raise awareness of the region as a tourist destination and bring long-term economic benefits to the area, with £42million investment to regenerate The Valleys and highlight the vast amount of activities and attractions on offer for its residents and visitors.

For further information please go to

Celebratory exhibition at the O3 gallery in Oxford


happy_birthdayTo celebrate its fifth Birthday the O3 Gallery is bringing together a selection of the most exciting artists working in the South-East region today. All artists participating in the Anniversary Show have exhibited in the O3 Gallery at some point during its five year history, and they return on this special occasion to each present a piece of new work.

Highlights of the exhibition include; photography by internationally regarded photographer Cambridge Jones, who took part in a solo exhibition in December 2007, a print and signed books by the award winning children’s illustrator Korky Paul, who exhibited as part of ‘Tell Me a Picture’ exhibition in April 2008, and work by Sarah Simblet, author of ‘Botany for the Artist’, ‘Anatomy for the Artist’ and ‘The Drawing Book’, who exhibited at the previous O3 Gallery exhibition, ‘Horti-CULTURE’.

Helen Statham, O3 Gallery’s manager remarks:
This exhibition provides a rare and rather wonderful opportunity to see work from some of the finest artists in our region positioned side by side in one exhibition. Visitors can expect to see work by celebrated members of the Oxfordshire Art community as well as rising local art stars. Sparkling newcomers include, ‘A Cotswold Scene’ photography competition winner, Peter Kuzmin and 2011 Mary Moser Prize winner, Wendy Newhofer.

The exhibition takes place from the 23rd July – 21st August 2011 with a preview evening on Friday 22nd July 2011 from 6-8pm

Rounders on demand - book your free game!

If you’re looking for something to do with work colleagues, pub mates, family or friends this summer then try Cherwell District Council and GO Active's Rounders On Demand service.

GO Active can provide all the equipment and a trained leader for any suitable venue. Games can be in the daytime or in the evening, depending on availability. You'll need to have at least ten people, with a minimum of five adults, taking part. Children need to be at least 8 years of age.

Rounders on Demand is perfect for office team building, pub team fun, big family events or even summer fetes. You just need to contact the team and check availability then we’ll come to you, teach you the rules and help you enjoy this activity.

Councillor James Macnamara, Cherwell's lead member for environment, said: “The rounders on demand service is totally free and flexible, making it a great way to keep fit and healthy. I’m sure lots of groups will take advantage of this offer. And because GO Active receives national funding this service costs nothing to the council tax payer.”

For more information, or to check availability, phone 07817 616701 or email
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For general information about GO Active phone 01295 221715 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more details about local activities try the GO Active website

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