Northants Open Studios back with paintings, pottery, prints, photos and medically inspired art at Boughton House
An exhibition at Boughton House provides a taste before the main event
A popular Northamptonshire-wide visual arts festival has returned to the creative calendar, heralded by an exhibition in one of the county's finest country houses with more to come next month.
Northants Open Studios will return in full force in September but a sneak preview of some of the art has been revealed at Boughton House near Kettering - to see in the revived festival of art and craft.
With more than 60 artists exhibiting their work, 26 of them opening their workspaces, visitors will have an array of displays of painting, photographs, prints, pottery and crafts to enjoy with many artists also presenting their work as individuals or groups in galleries across the county.
4 artists @ Boughton, a precursor to the main launch, kicked off with an exhibition in the coach house and tea room with work by mixed media artist Teresa Williams, painter Rosie Jarvis, Sarah Plackett from Swanspool Ceramics and newcomer Rah Flynn exhibiting her X-ray and surgical fine art pieces.
Rah said: "Fine Art has the reputation of being elitist and only for the privileged, yet in art there is escapism. I hold no affectations after decades as a diagnostic radiographer. With my work I aim to transport you to a place of connection and absorption, to the beauty within."
Using fluoroscopy - a way of making certain vessels in plants show up when X-rayed - she reveals the delicate structures of the flowers.
She said: "I like to strip away all the colour and strip away the external frippery - all of that to see the insides - what you are left with is beautiful. It's the same with people."
Alongside her X-ray art are prints from her work as a diagnostic radiographer in theatre during surgical procedures - all made with permission of the patient. She first started sketching surgeons' hands during long waits in complicated procedures.
Inspired by her colleagues' delicate skills 45-year-old Rah, invited one of the subjects of her work to see the prints on display - neurosurgeon Dr Amit Amit whose hands feature in her digitally enhanced photographs of operations.
Dr Amit said: "It's amazing and very flattering. Artists are amazing, she has found art in the operation. I'm absolutely amazed."
Rah said: "He's such a gentle soul and that kindness it's out on the surface. His hands are working in the patients’ bodies. I wanted to show the care he takes. His work is life-changing - it transforms people's lives. By showing the hands of a surgeon as they operate, I give the viewer a door into the world of theatre, to connect with the hands that heal.”
During September artists all over the county will open studios, homes and organised exhibitions to allow guests inside a pottery studio, discuss diamonds with a jewellery designer or watch demonstrations of painting, printmaking and traditional crafts in a relaxed environment.
Jeyes of Earls Barton will start the festival off with a launch party on September 4 from 3pm and will conclude with an awards ceremony taking place at the JGallery in Moulton to celebrate the achievements of artists and supporters.
Katie Boyce, director of Northants Open Studios, said: "Life is slowly getting back to normal and we have, once again, a good number of artists of all disciplines desperate to present their work to the local community across the county.
"I hope that everyone will see the benefit in supporting the event, reaching an audience of exhibiting creatives and visitors of all ages from the emerging artist to the retired collector. We have such a varied and talented group of artists spread all over Northamptonshire, what better way to celebrate them all than to have a month long event to support and promote their work”.
Boughton House is already well-known for its art with a magnificent range of paintings by great artists, including El Greco, Gainsborough and Van Dyck.
Visitors to the house and gardens will also have the opportunity to enjoy a pop-up exhibition by the four local artists from Friday to Monday throughout August. It will be open at the same time as the House and Gardens and is included in the entrance fee for each.
Central Exhibitions will take place at Jeyes of Earls Barton and the J Gallery supported by Kettering & District Art Society, from September 4 to 25.