FROM tweed handbags to stained glass, the best of local crafts and fine arts will be showcased in a rural village next month.

The talented Witherslack Artists and Makers Group will be showing and selling their work at their annual month-long exhibition when it opens on Saturday, September 14.

Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, the group's reputation attracts people to travel from far and wide to buy locally made ceramics, prints, paintings, textiles, stained glass, baskets, woodwork and jewellery.

Since the mid 1990s they have been exhibiting in the Old School Room, Witherslack, starting off with just a handful of Witherslack-based artists.

One of those first exhibitors was Judy Evans, who is still involved in the group. “After being part of an exhibition at The Brewery in Kendal 25 years ago, my sister, Sarah and a friend, Andrew Ward, encouraged me to do something on my own closer to home at Witherslack," she recalled.

"That proved successful with lots of interest, and sales, so in the following year I involved Paul Girling, the greenwood chair maker. Since then it has grown from two people exhibiting for a weekend to today’s group with guests and a whole month at the Old School Room.”

Renowned painter Fiona Clucas, based at Halecat, said: “The group spends a week assembling the show and the Old School Room is transformed into a gallery space for the duration of the exhibition.

"We enjoy the challenge of putting these fine arts and crafts together to give visitors ideas for their own homes as well as showing each piece off at its best.”

The 2019 showcase will feature diverse new pieces from 14 members as well as three guests: stained glass by Debbie Copley, tweed bags by Viv Calver and prints by Julian Milner.

Pip Hall, a stone letter carver from Cowgill, near Dent, said: “Our Witherslack exhibition is a wonderful mix of the highest quality fine arts alongside the best of local crafts. For some of us it’s one of very few selling exhibitions in our year and a rare chance to see and buy work by renowned makers in an informal setting.

"Our regular group will be creating new work especially for Witherslack and we’re celebrating the fact that, 25 years on, there is now so much local interest in art, craft and everything in between.”

As well as the 100 or more individual images and items on show and for sale, the group is creating a cooperative piece to celebrate its 25 years. The artists and makers are each creating “pebbles” from various materials to be displayed on a specially-made platter.

The exhibition is open for four weeks, starting with a preview day on Saturday, September 14, when many of the artists will attend to chat to visitors. The show then runs until Sunday, October 13, and is open every day from 10am to 5pm. at the Old School Room near Halecat Nurseries.

The full list of artists and makers taking part is Jane Bradley, John Calver, Fiona Clucas, Martin Copley, Jacqueline Dobson, Judy Evans, Paul Girling, Pip Hall, Alvin F Irving, Owen Jones, Ian Parker, Hans Ullrich, Jo Vincent, and Beverley White with guest artists, Viv Calver, Debbie Copley and Julian Milner.

For more, see