POTTERS, painters, woodcarvers and creative people of all disciplines are preparing to throw open the doors of their studios and galleries for an annual celebration of art.

Oxfordshire Artweeks begins this Saturday, with more than 500 exhibitions on show before it closes on May 29.

The festival of art, which this year celebrates its 35th anniversary, is a not-for-profit organisation and aims to showcase an expansive range of talented artists' work in various different galleries and events, stretching out to the furthest corners of the county.

It will first feature work in the south of the county, before moving on to the north and west of Oxfordshire next weekend, and finally focussing on Oxford city for its final week.

This year’s events include Pride, an LGBT festival in Oxford; paintings at Katherine House Hospice in Banbury; work by the Bicester Sculpture Group; and digital art from students at The Dragon School in Summertown, Oxford.

Exhibitions are held in artist’s homes, studios and gardens, as well as more formal spaces, giving the opportunity for art enthusiasts to get closer and potentially speak to the artists themselves, according to festival director Esther Lafferty.

She said: “It is your chance to enjoy art in a relaxed way, to meet the makers and see their creative talents in action.

"A third of the people exhibiting will be professional artists who actually started out through Artweeks.

"For some artists the festival gives them the confidence to turn professional. Lots of people get to see their work and the exhibitors get valuable feedback on what is most popular.

"The artists are passionate about their work and what they do and Artweeks is a great opportunity for them to share it."

Among exhibitions in Oxford, will be an introduction to artwork created by Lucy Proctor, Kieran Stiles, Lauren Baldwin, Emma Titcombe, Claire Paice and Emma Williams –all based at The Old Fire Station's studios in George Street.

The exhibition will showcase small individual pieces representing each artist's practice and will give audiences a flavour of what's to come in the future from these emerging artists.

Visitors can follow the various artist’s trails on the Oxford Artweeks website, which also encourages visitors to explore new areas of the county.

Entry to all exhibitions will be free. You can find out more at artweeks.org