TORRENTIAL downpours on Saturday afternoon could not put art fans off from making their way around the Caversham Arts Trail.

Returning after a two-year break, the arts trail features 36 artists across 18 venues dotted around Caversham, with many artists opening up their private studios and homes for members of the public to come and take a look at their work.

Despite the weather, record numbers turned out to walk the trail on Saturday and Sunday, with more expected to pay a visit this weekend.

Lori Jessop, who was exhibiting her work at her home studio, said: "I have done the arts trail quite a few times, and it always really nice to meet people and talk to them about my work. I love the enthusiasm for what you are doing.

"I love making the pieces, but I'm not one of these people who likes to hold on to them when they are finished, I like to pass them on.

"The Arts Trail is very enjoyable and I love meeting new people."

Pottery artist Leighan Thomas is making her debut at this year's trail, and has enjoyed receiving feedback on her work.

She said: "I started out taking an evening class five years ago, but quickly moved on to making pieces in my studio at the bottom of my garden. Once I got my own kiln, it really progressed from there."

Garden designer Alison Galer is also exhibiting for the first time, having opened her home up to the public at venue 10.

She said: "I don't think there has ever been a garden exhibited before, in the past people have opened their gardens as part of the venue, but it hasn't been the exhibit before.

"I have lived here for about 10 years, and developed the garden during that time. What's lovely is that local people can come and have a look, and take inspiration for their own gardens. As the soil is the same, what works here should work in their own gardens, so I've had a lot of people asking me for advice."

Publicity officer Liz Real, who was showcasing her prints at venue 4, said: "It went really well, in spite of that awful weather on Saturday afternoon. I would say I had a record number of visitors as did other venues. It was lovely to see all our supporters and friends, plus welcome new people who had not been on the Trail before.

"We are looking forward to doing it all again next weekend – and some venues are open on Friday."

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