New Faces and Places – Spring Fling Offers Art, Craft & Lovely Countryside

Visitors to Spring Fling 2016 can enjoy a variety of fresh venues, like beautiful Threave Garden, and work by 17 new artists and makers.

A total of 94 participants have been selected to take part in Scotland’s premier open studios contemporary visual art and craft event, which takes place across Dumfries and Galloway from 28 to 30 May,

Among them are newcomers such as the illustrator Cathy Sidhu whose illustrations transport people into imagined worlds full of wonder, and Kathryn King, maker of subtly textured and beautiful jewellery.

There are also new venues to explore including the famous Threave Garden and Estate, a National Trust for Scotland property, where visitors will be able to see work by painters Catriona Taylor and first-time Spring Fling exhibitor Lucy Hadley.

Richard Polley, Property Manager Threave Garden said: “It’s a great opportunity for people to meet two artists and see them at work; this experience will add a whole new dimension to a visit to Threave.

“The garden looks beautiful at all times of the year, but spring is a particularly wonderful season with flowers, blossom and fresh green leaves. We will be doing special late openings on the Friday and Saturday until 8pm, so come and enjoy art, garden and food.”

Spring Fling is a wonderful opportunity to see highly unusual places, including the studios and homes of many artists and makers, and to talk to them about their work and lives.

While most of the artists and makers taking part in Spring Fling live and work in the region, the event is also about creating and strengthening links with people who have strong connections with Dumfries and Galloway and with its neighbouring areas.

Clara Hanna, Director (maternity cover) for Upland which runs Spring Fling, said: “This year Spring Fling will offer a colourful mix of the new and the familiar, with 94 high-quality artists and makers throwing open their studio doors.

“As ever it’s really exciting to welcome an abundance of fresh talent and to offer visitors beautiful new venues, like Threave Garden, to enjoy. We are really looking forward to welcoming visitors from across the UK, and far beyond, for a wonderful and relaxing weekend break in one of Scotland’s loveliest areas.”

The new artists and makers for Spring Fling 2016 include:

Gwen Adair: Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries 

What to Expect: An exhibition of current paintings, life drawings etc. She will talk about process and inspiration as well as themes and future directions.

Gwen says: “For me, painting is about making coloured marks. My themes are quite traditional, and I tend to work quickly in an ‘alla prima’ fashion. I believe that the marks themselves should add to the image, so I use square brushes and knives to build texture.”

 Minette Bell Macdonald: The Art Hut, Hartwood Farm, Hightae, Lockerbie

 What to Expect: Watercolours of wild animals and landscapes - some framed, some mounted, or raw. There will be sketchbooks and work in progress showing methods and practices with mixed media.

Minette says: “My paintings seek to articulate the dialogue between me and the natural world. This can be turbulent or reflective depending on my mood or nature’s. The precision of a blade of grass or the nebulous substance of clouds inspire and inform the conversation.”

 Florencia Garcia Chafuen: Auchenstroan, Moniaive

 What to Expect: Work heavily influenced by photo-journalism. Exploring the idea of nostalgia; a passion for that which is past and with strong personal association. Photographs and film that reflecting the poetry in the world.

Florencia says: “I am a multi-disciplinery artist with a strong interest in photography, film and theatre. I studied filmmaking and theatre in my home city of Buenos Aires, Argentina and photography and physical theatre in Scotland. I make work that experiments and provokes contrasting urban with rural life.”

 Alison Critchlow: Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet

What to Expect: Oil paintings from small boards painted outside to larger studio canvases (up to 5 feet). Sketchbooks and watercolours from the Solway, the Hebrides and Cumbria. 

Alison says: “My recent work is about time, erosion, speed and motion. Starting outside, the landscape and especially the sea forms the basis for exploring painterly expression. I strive for the balance between representation and abstraction, between a moment caught and then reinvented in paint.”

 Lucy Hadley: Visitor Centre, Threave Garden & Estate, Castle Douglas

What to Expect: Current illustrations and sketchbooks. There will also be an opportunity to enter a competition to win one a mounted print.

Lucy says: “I am an illustrator whose love of the natural world is often reflected in my personal work. I use a variety of materials to create my visual language and enjoy mixing traditional mark-making techniques with modern digital practices.”

 Morgan Hardie: Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries

 What to Expect: Paintings, sketchbooks and works in progress.

Morgan says: “My paintings explore emotion through facial expression and body structure. I paint primarily using watercolour, I enjoy layering the different colours and I’m interested in seeing the way that the colours work together in bringing depth to my work.”

 Jane Howe Redcastle Steading, Haugh of Urr, Castle Douglas

What to Expect: Oil paintings, monotypes and plate lithographs for sale as well as charcoal/ink life drawings. Sketchbooks and printmaking books will be on show and there will be an opportunity to try a monotype using carbon paper or block printing.

Jane says: “The human figure is integral to my work. I like the viewer to use their imagination for the ‘story’. I use layers of ink, graphite, oil bar, sometimes covering over with gesso and scraping back to show the way work has built up.”

 Kathryn King: 21, St Mary’s St, Kirkcudbright.

What to Expect: Jewellery created using precious metals and gemstones and inspired by the maker’s love of nature, travel and architecture.

Kathryn says: “I love creating jewels that are worn and loved. My design inspiration comes mainly from nature but also architecture and travel. There are many subtle contrasts of colour and texture are created in my collections.”

 Emily Nash: Emily’s Design Studio and Gallery, Double Doors, Lochancroft Lane, Wigtown.

What to Expect: Lino prints, framed drawings, acrylic paintings to 3D/low relief work. Greetings cards and printed goods will be on sale.

Emily says: “I enjoy portraying my love of animals through my work, as I have grown up on a farm and I try to create their characters in each piece. I work with various mediums as I find that with different animals certain styles are more suitable.”

 Heather M Nisbet: The Foxhole, Kirkcudbright

 What to Expect: Painting, drawing,
oils and acrylics mainly, with other media including charcoal and oil pastels. Original paintings, framed prints and greeting cards will also be available.

Heather says: “I don’t often paint exactly what I see. Instead, each piece is a sort of jigsaw of images that I’ve sketched, all knitted together to produce a painting that I hope will evoke in the viewer a pleasant memory of something from their own experience.”

 Rosie Reid: WASPS Studios, Kirkcudbright

 What to Expect: Mosaic
painting, drawing, mixed media textile in a studio filled with colourful collages, fabric and other creative designs.

Rosie says: “I am a lively artist who designs colourful abstract works on paper and fabric, inspired from the beauty in nature’s imperfections. I create to brighten up customers homes and wardrobes, and my own.”

 Alex Rigg: Costume: Auchenstroan Street, Moniaive

What to Expect: An exhibition of design drawings for costume and of costume for performance. This will include design for performances that are still in rehearsal. Plus a live event in association with Dumfries Arts Festival.

Alex says: “I am an artist making live work that includes costume design and creation. I like to work on the periphery of what is accepted or understood. Much of what I make involves collaboration and conversation with other artists from all disciplines.”

 Kaz Robertson: Zitan, Thornhill

 What to Expect: A display of jewellery and examples of work in progress. 

Kaz says: “I am an Edinburgh-based jeweller mainly working in resin. Some pieces have magnets incorporated, other are reversible. I produce pieces which combine a bold colour palette with pattern. My jewellery is never dull.”

 Cathy Sidhu: Canonbie United Parish Church, Canonbie

 What to Expect: Watercolours, drawings, sketches and story excerpts. Also a few artworks painted on wood.

Cathy says: “I’ve always been fascinated by what I call the ‘realm of story’ and art that belongs to that realm. It feels to me as though it is a method of transportation by entrancement and each journey we take has the capacity to enrich us.”

 Jo Walker: The Wee Workshop, Easton's Entry, Langholm

 What to Expect: Discover the sgraffito technique and see work in various stages of completion. Visitors will also have the chance to make their own little clay bird to take home with them. Refreshments, including homebaking.

Jo says: “I grew up in Dumfries and Galloway and it was here that my love of the outdoors developed. My ceramics celebrate a love of nature, especially the often overlooked and unloved. Using the technique of sgraffito, I draw onto my pots delicate weeds and wildflowers. I also incorporate seaweed, shells and pebbles and make flocks of little sgraffito birds.”

 Clare Williams: Cut the Mustard Gallery, Langholm

What to Expect: Quality knitwear at different stages of production, from the development/swatch stage right through to the final products. The chance to use a knitting machine and view equipment.

Clare says: “I take inspiration from Medieval monastic and ecclesiastical architecture. I make knitted cushions and accessories with unique patterns and designs that I have created myself using a range of different yarns to create a luxury feel to everything that I do.”

 Philip Wilson: Princes St, Penpont

 What to Expect: Finished furniture and pieces in various stages of production. There will be a chance to try French polishing and demonstrations of wood turning and upholstery. 

Philip says: “I aim to offer visitors to the workshop a chance to see pieces of furniture in progress as well as some finished pieces which will be for sale.

I have been a designer and maker of furniture now for nearly 30 years and like to use unusual pieces of timber to compliment my designs.

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