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Returning to Wycombe's creative roots

During Bucks Art Weeks (8 to 23 June) around 300 local artists and craftspeople across Bucks open their doors to people to come and see their work. This year there’s over 15 different artists all exhibiting in High Wycombe. Many are clustered in two creative hubs: Wycombe Arts Centre on Desborough Road and a new pop-up space at DesBox near Aldi on Baker Street.

Delving beneath the surface of Wycombe's creative art scene is an opportunity not to be missed, with loads of events happening across the district and beyond. However Bucks Art Weel is also a brilliant opportunity to take a sneak peek at the newly opened DesBox project.

Made out of over 100 repurposed shipping containers, DesBox (external site) is an edgy new working community for creative entrepreneurs which literally opened its doors for the very first time last week.

Cllr Steve Broadbent with cane chair restorer Julia Ramsay Tasker at DesBox

Some of the artists exhibiting at Bucks Art Weeks have moved their creative businesses to DesBox, including Patrick O’Callaghan (drawing and painting ) in studio 30 and Julie Ball (mixed media) in studio 120. Other artists have come to DesBox to be part of a special pop-up gallery for the arts fortnight. They are showing a whole range of contemporary, distinctive and quirky pieces in glass, ceramics and jewellery. 

One of the artists is a cane chair restorer. Julia Ramsay Tasker [pictured with Cllr Steve Broadbent] lovingly restores hand made chairs and adds her own contemporary flourish. Now classified by the heritage Crafts Association as an endangered craft, Julia is currently working on a restoration project (Penny‘s Chair) and is giving demonstrations at DesBox during Bucks Arts Weeks.

Julia’s work has a strong connection to Wycombe‘s chair making history, which at its height was producing up to 7000 chairs a day. Many High Wycombe women were employed as cane workers in this very area, congregated around the Wycombe Cane and Rush Works around the corner from DesBox in Victoria Road

“It’s great to see the regeneration of this area which was so famous for its craft and furniture now nurturing the next generation - a new creative community in High Wycombe” says Julia.

“We’re investing in the town to help creative talent flourish in High Wycombe” says Cllr Steve Broadbent, Wycombe District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration who popped into DesBox earlier this week. “As well as the artists exhibiting for Bucks Art Weeks, DesBox is already home to a range of creative businesses including a candle maker, interior designer, a tailor and many different local artists.”