Art and Fashion Come Together for Scotland’s Top Open Studios Event


Spring Fling Rural Mural inspires photographer’s project to promote international textile designer’s colourful silks


Art and fashion have come together to show off fabulous fabrics ahead of the annual Spring Fling open studios weekend.

One of the three large Spring Fling Rural Murals (SFRMs), across Dumfries and Galloway, has inspired the fashion shoot by photographer Kim Ayres.

Thousands of visitors are expected to see the murals as they tour the region from 28 to 30 May to see the 94 specially-selected artists and makers who are throwing open their studio doors for Spring Fling.

SFRM brought together teams of international artists to create three large-scale public art works across Dumfries and Galloway. It is part of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Morag Macpherson, who is renowned for her textile design and is taking part in Spring Fling, was among artists who painted the murals. This gave Kim the idea of setting up a shoot which would use Morag’s mural, on a steading at Meiklewood Farm, Ringford, to showcase her hand-made silk kimono-style jackets, wrap round skirts and coats.

Clare Hanna, Director (maternity cover) for Upland, which runs Spring Fling, said: “Kim’s fashion shoot in front of one of the murals was a great way to bring together all the different elements that go to make up Spring Fling.

“There are these super murals by artists from across Europe, fabulous art and craft by some incredibly talented people, and it all takes place this weekend in one of the most beautiful regions of rural Scotland.”

Kim, who is a member of Upland and has taken part in past Spring Fling weekends, said: “We’d originally thought of doing a fashion shoot with a big city graffiti backdrop – there’s not a lot of that in the Dumfries and Galloway countryside.

“But when Morag worked with Italian street artist Tellas to paint a big, colourful mural on the steading at Ringford we realised it would be the perfect backdrop – creating a really bold and edgy mood.”

The plan was to have a nighttime feel with the models caught in circles of light like car headlamps. This meant waiting until 11pm for it to get dark.

Morag is just one of 10 textile artists and designers taking part in Spring Fling 2016. Their work ranges from high-quality tweed jackets and scarves, through to cushions and wall hangings.

Morag, who is based at the Wasps studios in Kirkcudbright, said: “We really hope that people enjoy the murals as they go round the region – it’s such an unusual and colourful project. It was lovely to be part of something that thousands of people will be able to enjoy.

“Having the fashion shoot there was also huge fun – the way the mural and the fabrics seemed to set each other off was quite amazing.”

SFRM is supported by EventScotland, a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate and by Creative Scotland.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted to support Spring Fling again, in our Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. The Rural Mural project is a wonderful celebration of Scotland’s artistic assets, promoting the works of both international and local talent.

“The weekend promises to be a fantastic event with many coming to the region to see the artists’ striking murals, in addition to the textiles, prints, ceramics and furniture on show at the main open-studio event.”

The Dumfries and Galloway murals can be seen at:

  • Meiklewood Farm, Ringford, near Castle Douglas: Tellas, from Rome, and Morag Macpherson created a mural on a steading near the A75. It is a colourful mix of organic shapes inspired by the sea and areas of solid colour that reflect the shades of the Dumfries and Galloway skies.
  • The Mossburn Animal Centre, Hightae: On the side of a stone barn at a centre for ill-treated and abandoned animals. It is visible from B7020. The creators were Berlin-based arts duo 44 Flavours (Sebastian Bagge and Julio Rölle) and Dumfries and Galloway visual artist Rory Laycock.
  • Craigdarroch Arms Hotel, Moniaive: Amy Whiten and Ali Wyllie from Recoat in Glasgow collaborated with Morag Paterson from near Thornhill. It is on a gable end at a pub renowned for hosting arts events.

The theme of SFRM was “exchange” and as part of this the teams of artists swapped country for city and created three urban murals as gifts to the people of Newcastle, Berlin and Glasgow.

Kim, who has built a reputation for creating striking images with strong narratives added: “Our models, Jessica Lee and Katarina Kositzki, were fantastic at throwing some attitude straight down the lens.”

He also enlisted the help of Dumfries based hair salon, Basement 20. Owner, Ralph Yates-Lee, said: “Kim and I had been looking for an excuse to work together for a while. I brought along Jody Crossan and Jojo Patterson to help with the hair and makeup too. There was quite a team working on this shoot. It was a fun evening, although I don’t think any of us were home much before 2am!”

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