PAINTERS, artists, sculptors and jewellers will be among those showcasing their work in Oxfordshire's biggest art festival.

Oxfordshire Artweeks runs from Saturday, May 6 to Monday, May 29 and there will be shows and exhibitions in artists' studios, galleries and public spaces including churches.

About 1,000 artists will take part at more than 470 venues across the county.

Esther Lafferty, festival director, said this year's event, the 35th, would be one of the biggest to date.

The mum-of-three from Faringdon, who spends 10 months of the year preparing for Artweeks, added: "The festival is a fantastic opportunity for artists to showcase their work.

"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."

One of the artists who will be taking part will be hatmaker Lizzie Hurst, from Summertown in Oxford.

From May 20 to May 29 she will be displaying her creations at St Barnabas Church in Jericho, including berets, trilbies and sun hats.

One of her colourful hats features a snake-like shape on top.

Ms Hurst said: "I have been making hats by trial and error since 1991 and I have been taking part in Artweeks since 2009.

"The festival gives you more exposure and the church is a lovely venue so I'm really looking forward to it.

"I first made a hat for a friend in 1991 and I developed things from there - now I get some commissions for my work.

"I was born and bred in Oxford and I have been quite arty all my life."

Artweeks events take place in South Oxfordshire from May 6 to May 14, in North and West Oxfordshire from May 13 to May 21, and in Oxford city from May 20 to May 29.

Mrs Lafferty, a former medical publisher at Oxford University Press, is organising her sixth festival.

She added: "You can see for free, spectacular art at hundreds of places, in artists' homes and studios, along village trails and city streets and in galleries and gardens.

"It is your chance, whether a seasoned art enthusiast or an interested newcomer to enjoy art in a relaxed way, to meet the makers and see their creative talent in action."

Mrs Lafferty added that Artweeks was a not-for-profit organisation, relying on the generous support of many people, including this year's sponsors, architects and planning consultants West Waddy ADP.

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