PRESS RELEASE : Rising Artists Supported through Mentoring Programme

18th May 2012

Spring Fling artists share their experience to support rising talent in Young Artists Mentoring Programme

Special 10th anniversary initiative provides guidance to young artists and an opportunity to participate in Scotland’s leading open studios event

In celebration of its 10th birthday, Spring Fling – recognised as Scotland’s premier arts and crafts open studios event – has an extended programme of special events for visitors to enjoy this year, as well as a unique project to support emerging creative talent.

Spring Fling 2012 been extended to four days for its 10th anniversary, rather than the usual three, to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee long weekend. Taking place from Saturday 2 to Tuesday 5 June, it will offer a fantastic opportunity to visit the studios and workshops of 76 highly skilled artists and craft makers living and working in Dumfries and Galloway – a region renowned as a hotbed of creative talent.

In addition to the core open studios event, the packed programme includes even more for visitors to see and do, including bus, bike and walking tours, a ceilidh and hog roast, a wine tasting evening and an incredible art installation to see, featuring a traditional Galloway cottage wrapped in fabric.

One of the additional anniversary highlights this year is a unique project – the Young Artists Mentoring Programme - enabling Spring Fling artists to share their experience, knowledge and skills with young artists who live outwith the region but have links to it.

This new initiative for Spring Fling 2012 is part of The Springboard Project funded by The Dumfries and Galloway LEADER Programme and The Holywood Trust. Spring Fling is a Community Interest Company, with the core event funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council and the public art project funded by Creative Scotland.

As part of the Young Artists Mentoring Programme, two students – Coral Beattie of Kilmarnock and Sally Hogarth of London, are each being mentored by a Spring Fling artist. Coral’s mentor is textile designer Morag Macpherson and Sally’s is Linda Mallett who divides her time between studio practice and collaborative work in the public art field as both an artist and project manager.

Coral Beattie is a 2011 graduate of Glasgow School of Art who studied woven textile design and has had strong links with Dumfries and Galloway since childhood. “Both sets of my grandparents had holiday homes near Gatehouse of Fleet and this is where my parents met so I spent many summers and school holidays here and it really is like a second home to me”, she says.

Whilst studying, Coral - who is inspired by patterns and details found in architecture - researched geometric pattern repeats, traditional Mexican and Moroccan textiles and explored the use of contrasting patterns using a traditional hand woven loom and a jacquard computer loom. From this she created a collection of woven scarves.

“I was delighted to be chosen for the Young Artists Mentoring Programme. Having known about Spring Fling for a number of years I have always seen it as such an exciting event, and always dreamed of taking part. When the chance to apply for the Programme came up I just had to take it as I saw Spring Fling as a really great platform for me to start my career and I felt it would really give me that chance to experience what it is like to be an artist and maker in everyday life.

“When I learned I would be mentored by Morag Macpherson who is such an innovative and inspirational textile designer, I was over the moon. Like me, Morag is fascinated by patterns and shapes; she photographs them and reinterprets them to digitally print finished patterns onto fabric. Her creations and use of colour are exquisite. Working with her is providing me with a great opportunity to learn new technical skills and understand more about the evolution of patterns. It’s also giving me the confidence to find my feet in the creative world.”

During Spring Fling, Coral will show her work in The Mill on The Fleet in Gatehouse. She says: “I’m very excited about this as I think my woven textiles will look great exhibited in the setting of the mill, with all its history. I also my studio space will highlight the true craft of weaving and all the hours of work that go into creating my final pieces with my photography of the weaving process. I’ve been working hard to expand my collection and, for the first time, I will be producing framed woven textile pieces and hope to produce a much larger scale wall hanging to put on display at The Mill on the Fleet. Both, I hope will showcase my work in a totally different way, as I have always gone down the fashion textile road before this.”

Morag, who recently moved to Dumfries and Galloway and works in WASPS in Kirkcudbright, said: “I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience of working with Coral. She shares my love of pattern so we have a lot in common in terms of our creative inspiration and I’m really pleased to be able to encourage and support her in any way I can to develop her practice and become an established and successful textile artist.”

The second young artist benefiting from the Young Artists Mentoring Programme is Sally Hogarth, a fine artist working across sculptural installation, photography and video. A descendant of William Hogarth, Sally studied Fine Art and Art History at Goldsmiths College. Although currently living and working in London, Sally lived in Dumfries and Galloway as a child.

Over the past twelve months, Sally has exhibited in London, New York, Berlin and Santander. She has also received exhibition funding from Ideas Tap, The Isle of Man Arts Council and The John Nicholson Foundation and last year, out of 400 applicants, she received a six month ‘Big Idea Award’ selected by Kevin Spacey.

Sally says: “Like Coral, I was extremely pleased to be chosen to take part in Spring Fling’s Young Artists Mentoring Programme and especially happy to learn that I would have Linda Mallett as my mentor. My work, like much of Linda’s, is in the public art field, and it also uses digital images, so she understands the challenges of that and what is involved, and I’m finding it extremely helpful to have her guidance and to be able to learn from her experience. And I too am very much looking forward to showing my work in The Mill on The Fleet

Sally’s work requires participants or viewers as part of its production; many of her works in the past have been produced and performed in public spaces – and it was for this reason that she was teamed up with Linda Mallett as her mentor.

Linda says: “I hope my experience of collaborative work in the public art field, as both an artist and a project manager, will help Sally and support her as she develops her career. I think the Mentoring Programme is a wonderful idea because it is enabling skills and idea sharing. We are incredibly lucky to have a very strong and supportive creative community here in Dumfries and Galloway and I think it is our duty to try to support new talent whilst also encouraging talented artists, designers and craftsmakers to come back into the community.”

Hazel Campbell, Chair of Spring Fling Manager, said: “Our creation of The Young Artists Mentoring Programme is probably the Spring Fling 2012 project that I am most proud of. I think it is incredibly important for us to encourage and support young artists in the early stages of their careers and to provide them with as much help as we can, both in terms of their creative development and knowledge of how the art world works.

“Giving them a chance to meet visitors face-to-face during Spring Fling and talk to them about their work will also be an invaluable experience. Every year, we attract thousands of visitors and this time round, during the Jubilee holiday, we’re hoping for even higher figures to come along to enjoy outstanding arts and crafts amidst our beautiful scenery.

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Media information

• For enquiries, interviews etc. contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or Ellen Drummond Ferroni on 07801 820757

• Spring Fling is Scotland’s premier arts and crafts open studio event. It has been shortlisted in the Scottish Thistle Awards 2012 for a Best Cultural Event award.

• In 2012 it runs from runs from Saturday 2nd June to Tuesday 5th June. All the studios taking part open daily from 10.30am to 5pm and are free to visit.

• Some 76 artists and craft makers are taking part.

• The event includes everything from painting, pottery and photography through to jewellery, textiles and glassware.

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

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

• For full details of the programme and the artists, makers and designers taking part, see the website at www.spring-fling.co.uk.