AS THE Oxfordshire Artweeks festival enters its third week, and dozens of exhibitions pop up in every neighbourhood within the ring road, there’s a chance to see a refreshingly real picture of Oxford: to see the art of the locals who know it inside out, and be surprised by both the world they see through artists’ eyes and the creative talent hiding in the backstreets of East Oxford.

There are exciting happenings afoot as the cloister of St John the Evangelist readies itself for an array of Oxford inspired artists descending on its hallowed Grade II-listed walls and garden from Saturday, as Artweeks returns to this secluded East Oxford destination, bigger than ever.

To be part of an 18-strong crowd helps to contextualise my work as an artist.

The joy of making art lies in selecting what investigations and research inform one’s work.

This exhibition brings together inquiries into landscape, figure, sociology, colour and artistic process by a diverse group of artists, the result being an inventive and plentiful show of ceramics, digital art, drawing, jewellery, mixed media, painting, paper, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and textiles.

Ceramicist Rose Wallace is presenting a collection of flatbacks which playfully reveal the social habits of the past.

Rose’s fascination with the discarded past is rooted in her childhood. Delighted when her father, a gardener by trade would unearth ‘gems’ from beneath their feet. Rose continues this habit of unearthing the past and uses her own finds which serve as precious domestic links to a collective social past.

With a nod to Eighteenth Century Folk Art in the form of the Staffordshire Flatback, Rose’s technique is passionately labour intensive. Firstly, taking casts of original finds to retain their detail.

Then by press-moulding clay, and constructing scenes into contemporary Flatback pieces, the results are delicate ceramics playfully honest to the world we inhabit.

Further enquiries beneath the soft loamy surface come from Swire Ridgeway Art Prize winner for Sculpture 2017 Sharon Rich, whose large stone sculptures bring strength and scale into the garden at St John the Evangelist.

The carved stones convey the essence of her Cornish roots via her adopted Oxfordshire home, which sits under the gaze of the White Horse at Huffington.

Working mainly in limestone, alabaster and various types of soap-stone, Sharon has meticulously hand-carved each piece using a mallet and chisels.

The rock and intaglio Celtic carvings reflect her love of nature combined with a pinch of Celtic myth and magic.

Also in the garden are Henrietta Bud’s profile-sculptures, three-dimensional drawings of a four-legged favourite, the Labrador.

A dialogue with their environment is also a feature of another of Henrietta’s sculptures, a pair of giant wooden pencils entitled Colouring in the grass and the sky.

Here, a green pencil ‘colours’ the grass, while a blue pencil points up into the sky.

My own work hangs on the walls within the cloisters.

Mixed media collages and limited edition prints constructed from found books inform socio politics of the present.

It’s not all bad! Playful and tragic but rooted in hope, my work combines the colour and graphic of found children’s books with manuals and domestic objects.

In Unravelling Spring, a flock of birds tug at some darning thread, revealing a female figure at work, at home.

New work Home considers diaspora. Monochrome images of shells sit alongside model houses and cut plant roots, yellow blossom provides the element of hope in time.

Further along the cloister landscapes are investigated from a handful of viewpoints; influences from abroad are conveyed by painter Christine O’Sullivan, whose vibrant abstract and geometric paintings explore perceptions of space and movement.

Sonia Boue’s haunting series of imaginary landscapes serve as a metaphor of the artist’s internal reflections whilst her Landscapes of Resistance respond to recent global events, these gestural paintings on Chinese rag paper are inspired by the notion of searching for resilience in creativity.

And so closer to home and using process rooted in history, Associate Researcher at the Oxford University Institute of Social Anthropology and artist Robin Wilson has produced a series of contemporary linocut prints using traditional technologies.

Each of his pieces are intended to stand alone on their own merits, but on further enquiry, almost all of his images fit into a narrative, united by how people interact with and understand their own environment and space as seen from their own specific perspective and viewpoint.

I recommend a Sunday afternoon visit where visitors can admire the work and enjoy afternoon cream tea in the garden from 2-4pm.

If you’re feeling inspired to get making, there is a pottery workshop for adults held by Rose Wallace on Saturday, May 27, 9am-11.30am. Booking is essential at

Opening dates and times: May 20-29, daily 12-6pm (Sun 2-5pm); May 26/27 until 8.30pm. For more information on this exhibition and the hundreds open for Oxfordshire Artweeks festival which runs until May 29 go to