THERE is something satisfying about making things.

When my son returned home after being away, I found myself making some ginger biscuits to welcome him back. Cooking is the limit of my creativity (my son would probably add that I had reached my limit…) so I admire those who have skill and ability and can create things that are genuinely worthwhile.

This weekend sees the culmination of Hampshire Open Studios – an art trail through our neighbouring county which opens up 280 studios showcasing local artists using every medium imaginable.

An art trail gives so much more than an exhibition; you get to meet the artists; see their studios; talk to them about what inspires them and what they are trying to achieve. Their art, already testament to their talent, takes on new dimensions. When you look at a piece of art, you bring your own context and your own meaning. What makes an Art Trail so interesting (apart from meeting people, finding places you didn’t know existed and seeing original art that you probably wouldn’t encounter any other way) is that you have an opportunity to see the work from the artist’s perspective and steal a glimpse on their creative world.

In Andover I discovered Ruth Facey, Richard Barnfather and Rebecca Maynard; they wanted me to understand that they were makers rather than fine artists. Indeed, the desire to create in Ruth is so strong that undaunted by the restrictions of severe arthritis, she has branched out from jewellery into mixed media representations inspired by landscapes and patterns she discovers in daily life. Fellow Central School graduate, ceramicist Rebecca was showing her signature collection of ceramic birds. She explained that by using the same form, she was able to explore different textures and glazes to produce pieces that begged to be admired and touched. Richard’s paintings were an explosion of colour; representative enough to give a sense of occasion and place; abstract enough to allow the viewer to imbue meaning.

The artwork was inspiring. What was equally inspiring was their desire to share their passion and joy in creativity. Richard lectures at a local college; Ruth teaches jewellery making and Rebecca was running children’s workshops as part of the trail.

I always find it inspiring and humbling talking with artists and musicians. They have something I do not; and through their talent, I discover things about myself that I otherwise would not. Creativity is what makes us human. Sadly it’s under threat. Art and music doesn’t figure on league tables; it’s being excised from schools - a government backed assault on civilisation. Without it, we are stifling our children’s creativity and depriving them their humanity. Ruth, Richard and Rebecca are fighting back!

Martin Field

Pewter casting for children: 10.30-3.30 Sunday, August 25

Telephone 07794 440769 for details