I drive past the wrought iron gates and into the Childwickbury estate. Along the way, mannequins dressed up in frilly frocks, colorful hats and scarves, direct us to the arts fair, their macabre faces theatrically made up. The fair is held within the courtyard and stables connected to this huge manor house. I look forward to this twice a year and am always astounded by the richness of talent and craftsmanship.

Two colourful banners flank the central arch welcoming visitors and quite a few people are milling about in the courtyard; an artist is drawing in a small crowd as she knits, surrounded by colorful woollen blankets and pretty quilted pillows. We wander into each stable filled with artists at work. Our first conversation is with a glass artist. The shelves are filled with neat displays of colourful glass ornaments; she shows us a soldering technique apparently invented by Tiffany, as she places copper foil around the edge of each glass piece that she’s working on.

Our next stop is a theatrical hat shop filled with hundreds of imaginative designs. There are hats that are almost as big as me like a Pegasus top hat fit for a carnival, and bright fascinators for formal occasions. I embarrass my daughter with my enthusiasm and the designer lets us try some on; he tells us that good millinery skills are crucial in bringing his imaginations to life.

We meander along and see many works of art from Still life to portraits. I start a conversation with an artist selling iconic pop art prints. A fluorescent print of the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra catches my eye; the artist has enhanced her headdress with silver and gold beading and I’ve got to have it!

We encounter printmakers and silversmiths as we walk on and see how they’ve set up their compact workshops. Artists’ trolleys are brimming with paintbrushes, oil paints and half finished canvases. My daughter points of how there is a slower pace here, a sense of calm. It feels good to take her out of her school routine and show her artists at work.

On our way out we see an artist ‘doing a Rembrandt,’ peering into a mirror and painting his self-portrait. I quite like the painting but I can’t help telling him that he is more handsome in real life! He laughs and I step away relieved that he has seen the funny side.

The Manor belongs to the family of the late film director Stanley Kubrick and there is a marquee dedicated to the wonderful artwork of the host Christiane Kubrick; she is happy to chat with her visitors and we’re lucky enough to get a copy of her book signed. Being a teenager, I’m not sure my daughter is familiar with that name, so all the way home I do not draw breath as I rave about the genius of Stanley Kubrick’s filmmaking.