Spring Fling 2014 is a Great chance to enjoy the art on your own doorstep
For anyone living in Dumfries and Galloway this year’s Spring Fling offers a host of visual art and craft studios to see in their own area.
The region is home to Scotland’s premier visual art and craft open studios event and this year a record 95 studios are taking part from Durisdeer in the north and Whithorn in the south to Claygate in the east and Portpatrick in the west. The main event takes place from 24-26 May.
Leah Black, Spring Fling Director, said: “Over the years Spring Fling has grown into one of the region’s major events and this year will be the biggest yet.
“It’s a great chance for people to get out and visit all kinds of artists and craft makers living in their own area, or to explore what’s going on in other parts of the region.
“The variety is quite incredible, from painting and original print making to glass, ceramics, photography, jewellery, textiles and much more. Dumfries and Galloway is a real hotbed of talent and Spring Fling is something really fun to enjoy over the bank holiday weekend.”
Over in the east of the region there are 16 studios taking part – half of them in a cluster in Langholm and others from Lockerbie to Annan. Among them are the up-and-coming Suzi Plunkett, in Johnsfield, with her popular animal images all created from tiny dots, which appear on everything from cushions to mobile phone covers. There are also the painters Deborah Campbell, Julie Dumbarton and Philip Gunn in Langholm, and textile designer Emma Ker in Annan.
The area from Dumfries to Rockliffe and Dalbeattie has 18 studios, half in Dumfries itself. Among those exhibiting are Wendy Kershaw, in Kippford, who uses porcelain to tell stories by illustrating poems and proverbs. Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries will host painters Steven Higginson and installation artist Caroline Dalton while painters William Spurway and Fraser Irvine, and jeweller Shona Guthrie have work on show at the Crichton. Meanwhile Colvend Public Hall is showing work by watercolourist Philippa Sinclair.
Further north there will be 19 studios open around Newtonairds, Thornhill and Moniaive. One person to look out for is Max Nowell, in Auldgirth, who creates lovely stone sculptures. Then there are painters Anne Butler, in Durisdeer, Marilyn Crawford near Dunscore, Silvana McLean and Melville Brotherston in Moniaive and jane Blair in Tynron. Jewellery makers Joanne Garner and Hannah Morris Knowles are also in Moniaive and Tynron. There is also fine furniture from Rob Jarvis in Scaur Water.
The area from Springholm, Laurieston and New Galloway also has more than a dozen galleries. The cushions, scarves and one-off textile pieces by Jo Gallant, Mossdale, are a real pleasure to see as is the willow weaving of Geoff Forrest, New Galloway, while the glasswork of Amanda Simmons, Corsock, and metalwork of Adam Booth, Kirkpatrick Durham, are internationally renowned. There is also the opportunity to see jewellery by Natalie Vardey, Corsock, hand-made footwear from Godfrey Smith, Balmaclellan and sculpture from David Alexander in Kirkpatrick Durham. There are photographers Phil McMenemy, in Laurieston and Leeming + Paterson at Dalry and artists and illustrators Pamela Grace and Jenny Rose in Kirkpatrick Durham.
Around Castle Douglas to Kirkcudbright there are 18 participating galleries. Among them is potter Hannah McAndrew, of Kelton, who has just won the craft&design Maker of the Year 2014 award. Installation and performance artist Alice Francis will be providing something inspirational and unusual at Auchencairn, and nearby there will be the chance to see textiles by Janet Ibbotson. There is a superb range of visual arts from the likes of Andrew McKean in Gatehouse of Fleet, Michelle Bennett Oates, Maggie Ayres Amy Winstanley and Clair Cameron-Smith at the WASPS studios in Kirkcudbright, and Jennie Ashmore, Leo Blamire, Kim Ayres, Hazel Campbell and Angela Lawrence in and around Castle Douglas.
The west, including Wigtown, Newton Stewart and Whithorn have 10 galleries. There will be something very special in Wigtown where Astrid Jaekel creates a series of delicate paper cut outs to fill the windows of the County Buildings, as part of a residency with the Wigtown Book Festival. Then there is lovely work from visual artists Suzan Malcolm, at Portpatrick, Lisa Hooper in Port William, Kevan McGinty in Whithorn, Helen Ryman, at Whaphill and Jenny Smith-McOnie and Gary Craig in Wigtown. The ceramics of Peter Wareing, Whithorn, have been attracting a lot of attention and hatmaker Kay Ribbens, in Kirkcowan, is always a favourite.