An extraordinary event

Art in Action is an extraordinary event.  It’s a 4-day celebration of the arts and crafts held every July in the grounds of Waterperry House, somewhere near Oxford, and attracts some 25,000 visitors.  Marquees house displays of paintings, sculptures, woodwork, textiles, ceramics, metalwork, glass and jewellery.  400 top artists, designer makers, musicians and performers not only display their work but demonstrate how they create it in front of your eyes.

In the textiles marquee, Roanna Wells demonstrated the stitching techniques she used to create her beautiful hanging “To the Moon”.

Nearby, OCA tutor Pat Hodson showed how she layers tissue, silk and collage to create translucent surfaces for printing, at the same time explaining how the intense colour of fibre reactive dyes in contrast with the digital inks create the sense of depth in her work, and how she uses line to create an illusion of bending space.

You will not leave the event thinking “I could have done that myself” — these are skills built up over a lifetime – but you will be inspired.  There are plenty of opportunities to try out some of the techniques yourself.  This year, OCA tutors James Willis and Steven Court were there giving lively classes in watercolour and monoprint.

For a full description of the event see

An interesting aspect to this is the context in which the event takes place.  It’s organised and staffed by 600 volunteers who are members of the School of Economic Science.  Drawing on the wisdom traditions and philosophies of both East and West, they seek to find commonalities which point to eternal truths and a transcendent reality, and aspire to put these to practical use.  This gives this event a particular flavour – a sense of high quality throughout and an attention to detail (down to the provision of flowers and tampons in each of the ladies’ portaloos).  What you will find here is a celebration of human creativity and capabilities.


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  2. Eileen 20 July 2010 at 12:02 pm

    It looks like a wonderful event. I’ll definitely try to get there next year if I can.

    It would be really nice to see examples of the tutors’ work that you mention. I’ve tried using the link and searching the site but it isn’t easy and even when you find images they are often not very good quality.

    1. Alison 22 July 2010 at 9:24 am

      Pat Hodson

      Pat Hodson talks about her Herbal Notebook on this blog

      James Willis

      Stephen Court

      See the blog on his OCA workshop using pastels and mixed media

  3. Trisha Goodwin 30 July 2010 at 11:37 am

    Art in Action is a fantastic annual event that I try not to miss, living quite close to the site in Oxfordshire. Take out a two day pass if you can (it works out cheaper) and stay nearby for the weekend. It takes this amount of time to get comfortably around all the marquees (one for each subject, i.e painting, textiles, ceramics, etc) and all the other events, concerts, etc spread over the eight acre site. The catering is pretty terrific too, but you can take your own picnic, which is encouraged too, to keep the costs down. You won’t find an atmosphere like it anywhere else!
    Trisha Goodwin, OCA Textiles tutor


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