Walled Garden Murals, Botanical Art & Jewellery Inspired By Ancient Treasures

Among the stars of this year’s Spring Fling open studios weekend will be the wonderful painted Arkleton Walled Garden.

Tucked away in the Ewes Valley, it will showcase the work of its owner Kate Knott and of fellow artist Diana De Gruyther.

They are among a diverse group of artists and makers from the beautiful rural area in and around Eskdalemuir, who have been selected for this year’s Spring Fling, which takes place across Dumfries and Galloway from 27-29 May.

Kate designed and cares for the garden herself and has created colourful murals on its walls.

She said: “I try to find a balance between working in nature as a gardener and recording it as an artist.
“I hope people will enjoy seeing our artwork and wandering around the garden, having a cuppa from the café, and soaking up the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere which inspires most of my work.”
Diana added: “I have always painted landscapes and seascapes and love the rolling valleys, moorlands, rivers, expansive skies and starry nights that dominate the scenery of this area.
“These are the essence of much of my work, but recently I have rekindled my love of drawing, life and portrait. All of these will be included in the work I’m exhibiting for Spring Fling.”

There will also be information available about other artistic events planned for the garden this summer.

Close by visitors will also be able to see landscape painter Liz McQueen, watercolour painter Cathy van Hoppe, maker of gold and silver jewellery inspired by ancient treasures Jesse Ball, and botanical painter Gloria Newlan.

Cathy, who creates delicate watercolours, said: “My work is inspired by 19th-century children’s literature and by folk tales of the British Isles and the north – it explores the landscape of fairytales and is a glimpse through a portal into the ‘Otherworld’.
“I’m really looking forward to welcoming visitors into my cottage garden studio, and showing them finished works – and works in progress. With luck the weather will be fine so we can set up a children’s drawing table in the garden.”

Jesse will be based at the The Hub in Eskdalemuir, where she’ll be showing a range of jewellery as well as new work, favourite tools, works in progress and sketchbooks with designs from her recent jewellery commission at The Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

“The inspiration for my jewellery comes from a variety of sources – treasures from the past – worn and improved upon by the elements, sacred relics, magical tales of times gone by and organic textures. 
“I’m interested in the way artefacts can hold meaning and stories as they’re passed through the generations – the history of these objects makes them all the more precious.  
“Exploring wild places and finding interesting objects and textures really inspires and excites me – I’ll have some of my most treasured and inspiring finds on display during this Spring Fling.”

This is a special year for Spring Fling as it will be the 21st annual event. As ever, visitors will be able to follow colour coded routes around the region, offering the chance to see a wide selection of studios in different parts of the region.

Arkleton Gardens and Eskdalemuir are on the Red Route which features 11 studios in the east of Dumfries and Galloway.

Among the artists and makers will be Lockerbie landscape painter Minette Bell Macdonald, and Langholm-based Miles-Moore Ceramics, furniture maker Daniel Lacey, nature-inspired painter Janet Carson, fantasy, botanical and nature painter Margaret Walty and jewellery maker Lisa Rothwell-Young.

Joanna Jones, Assistant Director of Upland CIC which organises Spring Fling, said: “Arkleton Walled Garden will be one of many great venues to visit as part of Spring Fling this year – a work of art in its own right, and a place where visitors can meet two of our artists.
“Likewise, Eskdalemuir is a wonderful place to visit, both for the Spring Fling studios and the lovely surrounding countryside.
“The whole of our Red Route takes people through some of the most beautiful, and often less visited, parts of the region and will be a chance to see everything from visual art and jewellery through to superb woodwork and ceramics.”

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