WITH less than a week until entries close, the countdown for artists to showcase their work in Reading Arts Week has begun.

Anything from watercolour paintings to ceramic sculptures, or even bespoke furniture pieces, can be included in the exhibition, with a maximum of two submissions per entrant.

Lyndsey Clark, a 23-year-old fashion designer from Emmer Green, broke the mould with the submission of a punk wedding dress made from recycled fabrics and a military corset. Her designs impressed the selectors so much that they have asked her to put on two fashion shows, one at the pentahotel VIP launch party on Friday, June 22, and the second in Caversham Court Gardens on Friday, June 29.

She explained: "I'm a little bit nervous but it's a wonderful opportunity, really exciting! I was under the impression that it was just a paintings and photography type of thing, I didn't even think they'd accept my work, let alone ask me to do a fashion show - I'm so, so excited about it."

Artisans have until midnight on Thursday, May 31, to submit their art work for display at the pentahotel, in Oxford Road, from Friday, June 22, until Sunday, June 24.

Tilehurst painter Ben Alexander, 29, has two contemporary pieces in the show, one a self-portrait and the other his take on Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. He said: "Most of the art shows I have been to aren't really aimed at young people and, because I have kids of my own, I want to inspire younger people to get involved in this kind of thing."

Photographer Catherine Hadler, 40, submitted images for the first time this year and is also a volunteer at the exhibition. She said: "It's the first time I've really shown any work, so it's a bit nerve racking! I was really excited to hear about something cultural happening in Reading."

The event is open to any artist over the age of 16 who is living or working in the greater Reading area. Submissions require a �15 supporting fee.

Reading Arts Week runs from Saturday, June 23, until Friday, June 29, and is sponsored by the Midweek and Chronicle, pentahotel and Lamport Gilbert, with a variety of events and pop-up exhibitions taking place throughout the week.

To submit work call Chris Brant on 0118 937 2373, visit www.reading.gov.uk/

artsweek or email chris.brant@reading.gov.uk