Hugh Pryor

Oxfordshire Artweeks opens on May 4, and yes, there’ll be hundreds of venues with wonderful paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics and more to see, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find lots of surprises. ‘FIND OUT MORE HERE

Here are our top quirky suggestions to check out during the first week – which focuses on North and West Oxfordshire – as well as some ideas for later in the festival.

  1. 1) Chloe’s in Charlbury is hosting Alice Pryce‘s geometric art from May 4-12, alongside a pop-up bakery of cakes and bakes from Silvie’s in Oxford on May 4, and Forge House Bakery and Mariella Bliss‘ focaccia, pastries and breads on May 12, when you can also enjoy a flea market. Or just dine on Chloe’s wonderful seasonal, sustainable food!
Alice Pryce’s work on the walls in Chloe’s
  • 2) Jane Tomlinson (Artweeks venue 302; Freeland) Her colourful Rock & Roll maps of the UK and North America (also available as jigsaws) painted with a mixture of watercolours, inks and Pop Art transfers, pay homage to the bands, artists, songs and cultural icons that reflect the spirit of rock musicians and their influences. Jane’s also includes some of her favourite tracks. 
North American Rock Music Map copyright Jane Tomlinson

3) Melanie Charles, best-known for her cheerful and colourful animal paintings, has turned her hand to disco balls, painted in colour on flat board, but appearing as 3D and glinting in the changing light. (Artweeks venue 26, Middleton Cheney)

Melanie Charles’ Glitterball

4) Art, Mind and Soul – in St Mary Magdalene Church, Woodstock (Artweeks venue 320; ) Artists in Woodstock has created a sensory experience around the town based on countless studies that prove that creativity can have a positive impact on wellbeing, and vice versa. Cue ‘Mindful Meander’, a series of prompts at each of the local businesses’ windows where the art is displayed, to encourage you to stop and immerse your senses. From the sound of the sea in Jean Pierre De Rosnay‘s oil paintings to the scent of the sorbets in Jane Greer‘s gelato portraits, there are also 10 free events throughout the week, including a Mindful Photography Walk, Arty Pilates, and a Breath and Mandala workshop in the grounds of Blenheim Palace.

5) ‘Hedgerow as Tapestry‘ by Carol Harvey in Chipping Norton (Artweeks venue 62), is made from natural fibres from hedgerows and natural oak gall, coffee, mulberry paper strips, spirulina and walnut ink-painted muslin – the words written with walnut ink. “I’ve enjoyed using this tapestry almost as a nature journal, recording my observations and inspirations of nature in spring,” explains Carol.

Hedgerow tapestry Carol Harvey

6) Charlotte Leech has made a teeny-tiny tea set, just an inch tall, (alongside other works) inspired by The Great Pottery Throwdown. She is exhibiting at a new Artweeks venue for 2024, The Clay Collective in Horton-cum-Studley (Artweeks venue 2), where there’ll be an amazing array of different types of ceramics from dome-shaped Cornish harbours to totems, and statuesque ladies inspired by the 1940s.

Charlotte Leech mini teapot small

7) In Eynsham, photographer Hugh Pryor, a former student of animation, uses the human body’s movement as a paintbrush in his figurative photography (SEE MAIN PIC) by using fluorescent and reflective materials under carefully crafted lighting to create dynamics. “The key is to turn our endlessly moving world into something that is still, beautiful and tangible,” he explains. (Artweeks venue 117).

Hugh Pryor

8) At Art in Piddington (Artweeks venue 4), you’ll find jeweller Liz Dee‘s charming bespoke silver brooches based on children’s drawing’s. “Children have such innocence and draw freely, with a simplicity, joy and honest warm-heartedness,” she explains. “For me, it’s like stepping back into childhood myself.”

Lucy the Sheep by Liz Dee

Others in week 2 & 3

City week

9) Crazy animals by Kate Byrne in Summertown (Artweeks venue 205) “I like animals that look quirky or unusual, like the giraffe,” says Kate, “so a few years ago I began inventing animals myself for a bit of fun, each a mix of my favourite bits of different endangered animals, with combined names to match.” The Quople is a combination of a Quokka, a Pelican and Turtle, which has a turtle’s shell and a pelican’s long beak.

Kate Byrne Ceramics

10) Try on the bespoke denim jackets by Summertown’s Emma Hardie (Artweeks venue 198) embroidered with fuchsia pinks and emerald greens, with statement jewellery to match, each a mosaic of colour and texture.

Emma Hardie

11) David Woollard, a computer programmer by day and artist by night, is presenting a collection of generative art drawn by his trusty plotter ‘robot’ Stephen in Greyfriars Church Hall on Iffley Road Oxford alongside 11 other artists.

David Woollard-Hyper

South Week

12) Renowned caterers Gravy and Custard are back at The Tree Barn for Watlington Artweeks, producing a Maltese inspired supper menu at long tables surrounded by the beautiful artwork of 12 local artists on May 24-25. They will also be onsite on May 18-19 & Tuesday 21-26) from 12 noon to 6pm with delicious drinks and food.

Gravy and Custard

13) AI art by Tony Wyer in Oxford Brewery’s Tap Room, Horspath, (Artweeks venue 336). Tony began creating AI art a year ago after the Sony World Photographic Award was won by an AI-generated submission.

Tony Wyer – AI art in Horspath Artweeks venue 336

14) Construction workers a la Van Gogh (Gio Botto; Didcot venue 460) Last year a video of Gio painting the men building speed bumps outside her house went viral on TikTok garnering over 11.6 million views. Now you can see her construction collection for yourself, alongside bouts in the boxing ring.

Construction workers a la van gogh (Gio Botto; Didcot venue 460)

The 2024 festival runs from 4th-27th May with more than 400 venues to visit.