Spring Fling At 20 Exhibition Celebrates The Success Of Scotland’s Leading Open Studios Event 

  • Work by over 30 artists who are part of Spring Fling’s past and present 
  • Earthlight commission combines striking ceramics and digital images 
  • Specially commissioned film explores the impact of Spring Fling  

Spring Fling at 20, an exhibition celebrating the success of Scotland’s leading open studios weekend, has just opened in Dumfries.

Visitors can see work by around 30 of the artists who have taken part in Spring Fling which has grown into one of the best-loved events in Scotland’s arts and cultural calendar since it began in 2003.

The exhibition, which is free and takes place at Gracefield Arts Centre, 20 Edinburgh Road, Dumfries until 2 July, presents a rich variety of works including glass, jewellery, metalwork, printmaking, painting, photography and ceramics.

Visitors can also see this year’s three special commissions .

The first, called Earthlight, combines ceramics and projected digital drawings, and is a collaboration between Ruth Elizabeth Jones and Emma Varley (who will run free workshops at 2pm each day during Spring Fling, book in advance via the website).

The second is a short film to mark Spring Fling’s 20th event, highlighting the impact it has had on the region and its creative community, and has been made by locally-based photographer and filmmaker Colin Tennant.

Between 2003-19 Spring Fling attracted 162,600 visitors who made around 487,000 studio visits. In 2020 and 2021 the event was online and attracted 26,000 visits to artists’ and makers’ websites. From 2003-21 over £3.3 million of art and craft was bought from studios or online. The event has brought in over £16 million to the local economy.

This year the organisers hope that Spring Fling will once again attract visitors to the region and bring sales for artists as they begin the tentative recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 20th Spring Fling has also been marked by a third commission which has seen Wigtown-based printmaker Sarah Stewart create a special limited edition of 20 prints called The Maker’s Toolkit, which show 20 of the tools used by artists and craft makers.

A special opening event for the exhibition saw around 100 guests, including many Spring Fling artists, gather at Gracefield on Friday evening. Eva Milroy, chair of Upland CIC which runs Spring Fling, and Rebecca Coggins Dumfries and Galloway Council Principal Officer Arts and Museums, made brief speeches about the origins and success of the event – and what this year has in store.

The artists present included Bea Last whose Red Bags “sculptural drawing” project has seen a vivid and colourful artwork created on the lawn outside the gallery – this will continue to evolve and grow for the duration of the exhibition.

Others present included the Corsock slipware potters Fitch & McAndrew, New Abbey ceramicist Archie McCall, and Castle Douglas painter Hazel Campbell.

“The exhibition showcases a mix of exhibitors from this year’s event, some new and some long-time Spring Flingers, as well as artists who have taken part in the past and some that are sadly no longer with us.
“We couldn’t include all the 2022 artists and makers so we urge visitors to get out to see their work in the studios next weekend.”

The Spring Fling open weekend itself takes place from 2-5 June and will see close to 100 studios, all across Dumfries and Galloway, throw open their doors to the public.

The event has been specially extended to four days this year to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Brochures can be downloaded from the website and there are a series of six colour-coded routes which visitors can follow.

Earthlight workshops, bus tour bookings and Sarah Stewart’s special edition commemorative prints are available for sale on the Spring Fling website at www.spring-fling.co.uk.