Summer in the Tamar Valley is a hive of activity for artists from Drawn to the Valley, with two high profile events to work towards.

The Members’ Summer Exhibition will take place in Butchers Hall in Tavistock from Tuesday, August 1 to Sunday, August 6, and entry is free. Several new artists will be joining members this year, presenting an eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional art, crafts and jewellery from artists of the Tamar Valley, straddling the border of Cornwall and Devon.

This will be followed by Open Studios from Saturday, August 26 to Sunday, September 3, also free, where artists offer an ‘open door’ to their studio, inviting you into their creative world to see them at work.

A spokesman said: “At either event you may be pleasantly surprised by the range of arts and crafts on display and the use of non-traditional media to create stunning artwork.

“While we have over 150 artists in our network, exhibiting incredible diversity of artistic style, one thing we have in common is our passion for the environment and the ability of art to raise awareness of issues that incite us to make a difference.”

John Dixon collects plastic fragments from South West beaches with which he creates artwork that is simultaneously thought-provoking and beautiful. Each artwork entices the viewer to consider the impact of humans on our environment.

You can view John’s art at the Summer Exhibition and an Open Studio artist collective event to be held in Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard, Plymouth.

Ali Fife Cook is an award-winning artist who uses her art to raise funds for wildlife and habitat conservation. She depicts animals and birds from around the world, including endangered species as well as British wildlife.

Ali said: “I use pastels, a very basic medium which has a lovely softness and can nevertheless, be used with precision and can achieve wonderful colour depth and vibrancy through the building up of layers. I try to capture the character of the creature I’m working on and often start with the eyes so I can get to know my subject, and the finishing touch is usually the glint in the eye.”

Ali has won awards for her art in international competitions, including a gold award for her portrait of a gorilla.

From plastic to pastels, to feathers, Jess Maslen is a highly talented artist who paints tiny miniature birds on feathers, said to be a ‘found’ media.

She said: “Feathers, to me, embody an endurable representation of nature and through painting on these I celebrate the birds from which they originate.

“I collect feathers along the River Tamar and Tavy. Once cleaned with disinfectant and white spirit the feather is ready to be painted on. I have to bear in mind what the design will be before I commit to painting on each feather. Once the main shape of the animal is painted in white, I then start layering on colours, often using the smallest of miniature brushes to incorporate details.”

With degrees in both ceramics and print-making and occupational therapy, and wide experience as a community artist, Stef D’Amico has applied her art to making a difference to the mental health and wellbeing of people in need of support. She lives and works in the Tamar Valley and said:

“Where I now live, the Tamar Valley and Dartmoor, affects my work. Wildlife and nature both have an impact. I work with a draftsman’s eye and have always loved making marks on clay. I use a method called ‘sgraffito’ which is scratching marks into a clay surface. It has a similar look to lino print and drawing with pen and ink. Lately, monochrome lends itself to my work and I enjoy making two-dimensional ceramic art as well as hand building, giving shadow and structure to my work. The ceramic panels I make tell a story, like a pop-up fairy book, a story from my childhood.”

Stef’s incredibly detailed lino prints, textiles and ceramics will be on display during the Summer Exhibition in Butchers’ Hall.

Information about both events is available at and brochures can be found in libraries and art galleries in and around the Tamar Valley.

The Summer Exhibition at Butchers Hall, Tavistock, is open as follows: Tuesday, August 1, to Saturday, August 5, from 10am to 4.30pm; Sunday, August 6, 10am to 2pm. Open Studios will be held from Saturday, August 26, to Sunday, September 3. The brochure provides a map to guide you to the venue of each artist, with opening times for each.