PREPARATIONS are under way for this year’s Oxfordshire Artweeks Festival.

The month-long event, starting Saturday, May 5, will feature artists from across Oxfordshire displaying their work in a wide variety of different venues.

About 1,000 artists and designer-makers, including 160 who are first-timers for 2018, are preparing for the festival, which runs until Monday, May 28.

More than 460 exhibitions and events pop-up across the county, and tens of thousands of unique pieces of art and design will be on show.

Organiser Esther Lafferty said: “A vibrant palette of local artists and makers will be opening their studios, presenting friendly exhibitions and giving demonstrations in interesting venues in villages and towns from Bloxham to Blewbury, along the Ridgeway and the Windrush, in Oxford colleges, historic barns, secret gardens and even a manor house that was home to kings.

“You can see a potter in action in a Thames-side garden, explore hidden artists’ studios in the heart of Oxford or take an artist trail in the village where Downton Abbey was filmed.”

Local art enthusiasts and visitors will be invited in, for free, to enjoy paintings, porcelain and pottery, fine art photography and sunlit stained glass.

Ms Lafferty added: “From local landscapes to contemporary design with a difference, hand-made boats and gargoyles sculpted in stone, there’s plenty to delight, amaze and intrigue, and all created in and around Oxfordshire.”