PRESS RELEASE: Highland Textile Artist ‘Spins a Yarn’ in Scotland’s Book Town

15th August 2012

Joanne B Kaar prepares for her Spring Fling & Wigtown Book Festival Residency

Artist Joanne B Kaar will use locally harvested plants to make a series of ‘yarns’ incorporating the stories and experiences of visitors to the 2012 Wigtown Book Festival.

Now in its fourth year, this Creative Scotland funded residency enables an artist from any discipline to create a body of work during and inspired by the Wigtown Book Festival. The residency culminates in the artist showing the new work in Wigtown during the following Spring Fling.

For her residency Joanne will use locally harvested plants, such as Red-hot-poker, Montbretia and New Zealand Flax to make a series of ‘yarns’ incorporating stories and experiences at the festival.

Using traditional techniques for making simmans or rope from natural fibres Joanne will enlist the help of festival-goers to achieve her goal and will be yarn spinning while out and about exploring the festival venues, cafes and outdoor spaces. The public will be invited to have a go at ‘spinning a yarn’ by adding a few words to the simmans as it is made, the story evolving in a random fashion. As the yarns grow, the festival story will be spun.

When not engaging the public in yarn spinning, word generation and plant collection, Joanne will be on site in The Gallery, on the top floor of the County Buildings in Wigtown, where there will be a changing display of yarns. Joanne will be on hand to pass on information about which plants she would be delighted to receive to incorporate into her work. During a series of more organised sessions in The Gallery, the public will be invited to ‘spin their own yarn’. These ‘yarns’ will be hung up for all to read during the festival, an activity suitable for all ages.

The yarns will then be displayed during Spring Fling (25 – 27 May) 2013 in an interactive display where the yarns will be unwound to be read. Participants at Spring Fling will also be invited to ‘spin a yarn’. Between the Wigtown Book Festival and Spring Fling 2013 Joanne will develop this work into a series of string animals to ‘walk the talk’.

Joanne says ‘I was really delighted to be offered the residency. I’ve been drooling over the book festival programme, selecting events which will inspire, but trying to leave plenty of time for the unexpected. I’ve already been inspired by characters in the novels by Alexander McCall Smith who is Launching the Audience as Artist strand at the festival’.

Hazel Campbell, Chair of Spring Fling says ‘Standards of applicants this year were extremely high. We are delighted to have Joanne as our resident artist for Wigtown Book Festival and look forward to seeing how her project develops over the Book Festival and into Spring Fling 2013’

Adrian Turpin, Director of Wigtown Book Festival says ‘Every year Spring Fling is one of the most exciting events taking place in Dumfries & Galloway. We are very proud to work with them as partners for a fourth year, and particularly pleased to have Joanne in a year in which the festival is celebrating craft and creativity’.

Joanne B Kaar is based in Caithness, Scotland and graduated with an MA in textiles from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1992. She has since exhibited worldwide - in 2011 she exhibited in Korea, Tasmania, Germany, USA and UK, including VAS held in The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. Recent projects include creating grass garments inspired by Hebridean crofter Angus Macphee, and ‘The Westland’ – collaboration with New Zealand artist Lynn Taylor researching the maiden voyage of the Westland ship, touring nine venues in Scotland and New Zealand. Joanne has completed many residencies including the Su-Ho Paper Museum in Taiwan. In 2003 The Guild of Master Craftsmen Publications published Joanne’s book on papermaking and bookbinding.

Joanne, an avid tweeter, will use social media to engage with the public throughout her residency. Tweet and follow @Joannebkaar using #iamawigtownbookfestivalyarnspinner to join in the fun online.

Joanne will be resident in Wigtown for the whole of the Book Festival which runs from 28 September – 7 October 2012. Joanne will host a free meet-the-artist event at 7pm on 29 September in The Gallery, County Buildings, Wigtown.

The second part of the residency will run over next year’s Spring Fling weekend, from 25-27 May 2013.

The Spring Fling & Wigtown Book Festival Residency is funded by Creative Scotland as part of The Year of Creative Scotland 2012.




About Spring Fling

• Spring Fling is Scotland’s premier visual art and contemporary craft open studios event covering the whole of Dumfries and Galloway, South West Scotland.

• In 2012 Spring Fling attracted 10,000 visitors over the weekend and brought over £1,000,000 to the local economy including spend in artists studios.

• Spring Fling celebrates its 10th birthday for the whole of 2012.

• Spring Fling 2013 will run from 25-27 May and applications for artists and makers will open on Thursday 13 September.

• Some 76 artists and craft makers are took part in 2012 where visitors were be able to see, and buy, a diverse range of outstanding items spanning painting and photography, jewellery and textiles, glass, ceramics and furniture.

• Spring Fling have a smartphone app on iPhone and Android platforms &

• Spring Fling have a year round open web shop selling artists and makers products

• For further details on Spring Fling please visit or contact Leah Black, Project Manager on


About Wigtown Book Festival

• Wigtown is Scotland’s National Book Town

• The Wigtown Book Festival runs from 28 September – 7 October 2012

• For tickets for Wigtown Book Festival Events please phone the Box Office on 01988 403 222

• For further programme and event information for the Wigtown Book Festival please visit


About Creative Scotland

• Creative Scotland is the national development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries.

• Its vision is that Scotland will be recognised as one of the world’s most creative nations – one that attracts, develops and retains talent, where the arts and the creative industries are supported and celebrated and their economic contribution fully captured; a nation where the arts and creativity play a central part in the lives, education and well-being of our population.

• The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and is a chance to showcase, celebrate and promote Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland.

• More information about the programme can be found at:

• The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.


Media information

• For enquiries, interviews etc. contact Leah Black on or 01387 213 218

• A backgrounder with additional details on Spring Fling accompanies this release.

• Other free-to-use images are available from the Spring Fling website.