Anne James selects some of her favourites as Artsweeks moves to the north and west of the county

Next week Oxfordshire Artweeks is taking place in the north and west of the county — in Cherwell and West Oxfordshire to be strictly geographical.

With 150 venues to choose from across a predominantly rural area it makes sense to decide to visit a number of venues that are close together. To assist with this, local co-ordinators have put together detailed trail maps which include trails for Great Rollright, Charlbury, Chadlington, Stonesfield, Long Hanborough and Bampton. These can all be downloaded from the Artweeks website. These excellent trails provide the opportunity to explore the work of different artists and crafts people, their subject matter and media and to make your own comparisons between them.

The innovative SOTA Gallery in Witney have taken this a stage further. They have commissioned six artists working in very different media to paint, sculpt, photograph or otherwise work with a particular view of the Windrush. Illustrated above is Barbara Shaw’s hand- stitched interpretation of the view. She has used a variety of textiles, including lace, cotton, tweed, net and chiffon as well as glittery fabrics, in order, in her words ‘to achieve a semblance of the river gently winding through a lush landscape on a bright spring day’.

Witney also offers the opportunity to see the remarkable work of Susan Ryan who was born partially blind yet has alw-ays painted and drawn. The exhibition comprises 30 pieces of her work, mainly still life. She approaches her work by first feeling the objects and then by making bold charcoal or fresh chalk drawings on which she bases her final pieces.

Sophie Thompson is well known for her landmark giant metal shire horses in Carterton. She continues her equine theme in this the Chinese Year of the Horse with pieces showing horses in all sorts of moods and sizes. She has also drawn inspiration from fairy tales and legends to create sculptures as varied as the Three Billy Goats Gruff, a Dodo and a Gryphon, all in Milton-under-Wychwood.

Write On, at Woodstock’s Oxfordshire Museum, is a delightful exhibition of calligraphy and lettering art by the Oxford Scribes, ranging from beginners to professionals, each proving that calligraphy is a beautiful counterpoint to the ‘perfection’ of computer-generated wording. Dominating the exhibition is an eight-foot maypole festooned with ribb-ons on which members of the group have made their marks in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Oxford Scribes.

Also included are three charming sets of equivocal dance shoes, adorned with an explanatory Lewis Carroll quotation from the Lobster Quadrille ‘ Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, come and join the dance?’ And a delightful wooden rocking horse lettered with words from Banbury’s famed Ride a Cock Horse rhyme.

Deddington-based Alex Moss has over the years made varied pieces such as one-off bed designs, film props and catwalk creations. His current work is bespoke metal artwork ranging in size from delicate tea light holders to tables and other substantial pieces of furniture. If the weather holds he will be demonstrat-ing his art in the open air with his forge and anvil outside.

A trip to Lower Heyford will prove rewarding as this is where Art More Lovely brings together the work of eight artists in the elegant setting of Heyford House. Work on show is quirky. Check out the fun road signs and the names of famous authors spelt out courtesy of the symbols in chemistry’s periodic table. And nearby Fleur Enser will be showing her beautiful pottery alongside Elizabeth Balkwell’s stylish beaded jewellery.

Chipping Norton is celebrating its local artists with eight open studios. In the Theatre gallery enjoy Susan Frater’s hand-cast pewter jewellery, Joanne Mooney’s unique hand crafted cushions in appliqué and embroidery enhanced by her eclectic mix of colours and textures, and Kate Wilson’s rich evocative abstract paintings inspired by her love of nature. And there is a substantial show at the Town Hall of work by the members of the Oxfordshire Craft Guild, which includes further pieces by Barbara Shaw: her stitched portraits of Chastleton House where she is currently artist in residence.

In Burdrop, near Banbury, Maxine Chandler will be showing a wide range of stained glass art, which includes affordable freestanding glass pieces for the garden and highly-coloured glass art for indoors. Maxine will be giving demonstrations and advice each day.

Artweeks North runs from May 10-18.