Spring Fling in Your Area – Enjoy an Amazing Array of Contemporary Art and Craft

This month’s Spring Fling offers the chance to see an astonishing variety of contemporary art and craft at 104 studios across Dumfries and Galloway.

Among them are Kirkcudbright bespoke high-quality furniture maker Ian CameronSmith, Thornhill multi-disciplinary artist Hetal Chudasama and Sally Jennings, a painter and installation artist who will be exhibiting near Castle Douglas.

The open studios weekend, which takes place from 25-27 May, features everything from painting and drawing, jewellery and textiles, photography and woodwork to ceramics, glass and metalwork.

Ian is a regular Spring Fling participant and is renowned for his highly unusual work, which this year includes the remarkable white pagan wedding throne, created from wood and horned animal skulls, for the marriage of his son Connor and bride Sanni.

Ian said: “My work is very much bespoke and with a strongly organic feel about it – which is very much what the wedding throne was about, reflecting our connections to the natural world.

“I get a lot of pleasure from pushing the boundaries and thinking outwith the usual parameters to create solutions, artworks and designs that are practical as well as beautiful – it’s great fun.”

Hetal is among the new artists being welcomed to this year’s event.

Originally from India, where she had a successful career as a commercial artist, she moved to the south of England eight years ago but now lives in a farmhouse where she has been converting a stone outbuilding into a studio.

These days she has shifted her focus and much of the work on show will be woodcut prints created using everything from household and agricultural items to the head rest from an Indian chariot.

Other works incorporate the use of text as images playing with ancient Gujarati characters, or using borrowed English quotes from well-known writers to create enigmatic images.

She said: “Currently, my main focus is on woodcut printmaking. I work with a combination of woodcuts and multiple woodblock arrangements to create an image –experimenting with forms and colours and exploring possibilities that the material holds in itself.

“I make my prints using blocks which consist of inherited pieces of furniture and various household objects. Each objects carries a hidden history embedded within it. By incorporating them in various creative arrangements I’m hoping to find new visual narratives.”

Hetal also creates multi-media installations, sometimes combining moving images, sound and even scent.

Sally Jennings is a Glasgow-based emerging artist with family connections to the region, who is taking part through Spring Fling’s New Graduate scheme.

She has a fascination with mystery, myth and ancient beliefs and has previously collaborated with scientists from Glasgow University’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

With Dumfries and Galloway covering such a large area the organisers have divided the studios into six colour-coded routes that visitors may wish to follow.

 Blue Route (Studios 1-18) – extends from Stranraer to the southern tip of the Mull of Galloway to Newton Stewart.

 Purple Route (19-41) – covers areas such as Gatehouse of Fleet and


 Pink Route (42-63) – takes in Dundrennan, Auchencairn, Castle Douglas

Kirpatrick Durham, Corsock and New Galloway.

 Orange Route (64-80) – includes Colvend, Kirkunzeon, Rockliffe and Dumfries.

 Green Route (81-90) – Auldgirth, Thornhill and Durisdeer and Moniaive.

 Red Route (91-104) – covers Lockerbie, Moffat, Eskdalemuir, Langholm and Waterbeck.

Brochure (which are free to pick up across the region) provide complete details and there is an online map, plus a full set of virtual studios on the Spring Fling website allowing visitors to work out exactly where they want to go and who they wish to see.

Hetal Chudasama - Spring Fling 2024

As some of the studios are tucked away in very rural areas, and because not everyone wants to drive, Spring Fling has also arranged bus tours to give visitors the chance to see studios in remote locations.

Joanna Jones, Upland Assistant Director, said: “Spring Fling is always an astonishing mix of contemporary art and craft from the amazing creative community that exists in Dumfries and Galloway.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming visitors from across Scotland and the rest of the UK for our largest ever event – and the opportunity to explore one of Scotland’s most beautiful regions.

“We’d encourage visitors to join one of our guided tours – you see more of our countryside when you are not driving and they take you to studios off the beaten track.”