PRESS RELEASE : Top Talent25th May 2012
Some of Scotland’s finest artists and crafts makers are throwing open their studios to the public for the 10th annual Spring Fling arts and crafts event in Dumfries and Galloway.
They range from painters and potters to photographers and jewellers. The one thing that all 76 have in common is that they had to pass a rigorous selection process to take part. That means that visitors to this year’s event, which takes place over the Jubilee holiday from 2-5 June, can be assured of a top-quality experience
Below are details of some of those taking part – divided up according to which part of this large and beautiful rural region of south-west Scotland they are in. Free-to-use photos are available of Hannah McAndrew, Leo Blamire, Andy Priestman and Julie Dumbarton. Pictures are also available of work by the other artists.
Durisdeer Village, Thornhill
Anne’s paintings are loose and colourful and are generally landscapes, although she has recently been experimenting with still life. She is a local born and bred, having grown up on a farm in Dumfriesshire and her work is often inspired by hay barns and sheds, fields and fences, wind and weather, hills and farm cottages. Anne enjoys exploring colour and movement and creates paintings, normally in acrylic, ranging from 10cm to 1 metre square.
Ted Leeming and Morag Paterson
A husband and wife team based just north of Dalry (and showing their work in Moniaive during Spring Fling) are renowned for their landscape photography. The Dumfries and Galloway countryside is a fertile ground for their work – which has featured widely in newspapers and magazines, and examples of which hang everywhere from cruise liners to company boardrooms. This year they will be exhibiting their Zero Footprint portfolio, taken over two years from the same spot overlooking the Rhinns of Kells. The creative use of season, light and weather conditions makes this a very special collection of subtle and atmospheric landscape images.
Max’ work falls into two categories: outdoor, larger, pieces, either carved or dry-built; and smaller indoor pieces, some carved, some constructed and some incorporating materials other than stone. Visitors will be able to take away or commission items; chat with Max about ideas and techniques, or their own requests, over a coffee and cake. They can also view a slide-show of previous work and wander around the beautiful garden.
Corsock, Castle Douglas
Amanda says she has the ‘perfect commute to work’ – from the former village shop which is her home it’s up the garden to the big old shed which is her studio. Visitors will immediately be struck by the colour and sculptural character of her glass. It comes in many shapes and sizes, including engraved back-lit wall-hung pieces and large ovoid vessels inspired by the buoys she saw in Lybster Harbour during a residency in Caithness.
Amanda has a scientific background, and the chemistry of glassmaking has always been one of its fascinations. But ultimately she says ‘it’s the colour and the light which really brings it alive for me’. She previously ran a studio from ACME in Deptford. She was also a BT apprentice, clambering up and down phone poles, and was later a clinical perfusionist – running the heart-lung machines that stand in for patients’ vital organs during major surgery.
Amanda has worked with glass for the past ten years, studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Glass & Architecture at Central St Martin’s School of Art & Design in London before relocating to Dumfries and Galloway in 2005.
Making beautiful kiln-formed and cameo-engraved glass, Amanda’s work involves firing, coldworking – using diamond tools to shape and smooth – and sandblasting. Inspired by the rugged hills of the region, she also draws on themes from her biomedical sciences past life.
A past winner of the Gold Award for Innovation, Creativity and Potential to Export at Origin, Amanda recently became a member of Contemporary Applied Arts in London and has just returned from a research trip, funded by the Crafts Council and UK Trade & Investment, to investigate the applied arts market in the USA. She has also been selected to become the Creative Business Advisor (for crafts) by Dumfries and Galloway Council, to stimulate, strengthen and support the creative industries sector across the region.
Texture and light are what particularly excite Nancy. Gilding is an ancient craft that is all about using reflected light to emphasize texture and energize a space. She trained as a traditional gilder, working first in the antique trade, but more recently began to design her own mirrors and frames. This year she has pushed the boundaries of her craft out even further by introducing colour along with gold leaf to create delicately textured gessoed panels. Her very popular “Bowls of Light” will also be on display.
Buccleuch Mills, Langholm
Having spent seven years in the Bakehouse Studio, Julie has now moved to a larger studio with fantastic natural light that is a joy to work in. Her work reflects places she would like to be, or has been to and enjoyed. Always colourful, she strives to show features as she sees them – the contours on a mountainside, colours in the sky and clouds, or light between the trees. Having recently spent time in the Highlands, the influence of this fantastic area can be seen in her current works.
Daniel’s aim is to produce work of the highest quality, both in design and craftsmanship: work which exceeds expectations and makes people ask, ‘how did you do that?’ All his work is based on sustainable principles, using mainly local timbers - and in combination with the use of his own small mobile sawmill, Daniel can offer an unusually complete service to clients, ending with the unique piece of furniture designed specifically for them. On display will be new – and older – examples of his work, and work in progress.
From antique mother of pearl gaming pieces to little plastic loops from bra straps, Alison delights in incorporating ‘found items’ and cast offs in her more avant-garde jewellery. She also has a beautiful range of delightful contemporary rings, brooches, necklaces and earrings created from gold, silver, precious and semi-precious stones.
During Spring Fling her work will be exhibited in the studio of family friend Patti Lean. An avid fan of junk shops and car boot sales, Alison loves to bring new meaning to old items. For example she enjoys working with couples to incorporate inherited stones into individually designed and hand-made engagement or wedding rings.
Roger juggles portraiture and landscape photography with a career as a vet. Unsurprisingly his interests sometimes merge together in images of animals, including some splendid wildlife work from a trip to Africa’s Great Rift Valley with the charity Action Aid. Visitors to his studio in Dalbeattie may also meet his much-pictured lurcher Rosie, whose life he saved after it had been found –little more than a skeleton – tied up inside plastic bin liners and dumped in bushes on a traffic island.
Kelton, Castle Douglas
From cereal bowls to casseroles, Hannah’s pottery is functional as well as superbly decorative. Much of her work is inspired by local features, especially the great oaks and old beeches near the converted farm building where she has her workshop.
Spring Fling visitors will see everything from freshly thrown pots through to finished items. They can also admire the wood fired kiln she built herself, and which is fed with locally coppiced timber and old pallets that she splits herself. Hannah says: ‘Electric kilns are brilliant but the magic takes place without your involvement’.
Hannah’s is one of three makers chosen for Tokyo’s Best of British Slipware exhibition. She will soon be heading to the US to take part in the renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art annual craft show. While the slipware tradition is hundreds of years old, Hannah’s work is for today. She uses clay from the fields around her workshop to provide a distinctive orange-coloured decoration for some of her slipware.
Jennifer creates textural and vibrant prints with an emphasis on colour, mainly working on collagraphs and drypoints. Her collagraphs are dynamic, and often abstract, inspired by moods and travel. Her recent work is inspired by the beautiful coastal scenery around Wigtown. Visitors will have the opportunity to gain an insight into the printmaking process and see demonstrations of how a collagraph print is created on her converted mangle printing press.
A painter, printmaker, framer and musician. Recent oil paintings are of animals - dogs, pigs, cats, rabbits. I capture the essence of their character - reading human thoughts into them. He builds many thin layers of oils on gesso covered panels; finishing with fine brush strokes. Leo enjoys creating bright, patterned backgrounds. His screenprints reflect a slightly quirky view of life - with bold, colourful and decorative shapes creating a slightly ‘retro’ look. Leo is working on a series of framed fine pen drawings which will also be on sale.
Angela’s paintings are inspired by the hills and coastlines of Dumfries and Galloway. Originally from London, she spent 20 years in Finland and was a violinist with a Finnish state symphony orchestra, but settled in Scotland in 2004. Since then her career as a painter has really taken off. During Spring Fling she will be showing some of her new ‘Sea Spirit’ body of work, which she received a Creative Arts Scotland and D&G Visual Arts Award to pursue.
She said: ‘This region has fantastic landscapes, amazing skies and changeable weather which are great inspirations for me. I think people here are generally very interested and receptive to art, and there’s a pace of life that accommodates this too. There is good support from the regional arts centre and a feeling of being part a big community of artists that is really encouraging.”
Clarebrand, Castle Douglas
County Antrim-born artist Hilary McElderry specialises in colourful drawings of fabrics, was previously a freelance children’s book illustrator whose work has been used by big-name publishers such as Collins, Longmans, Chambers and educational specialists Scholastic.
Hilary moved to Dumfries and Galloway in 2007 where she and her husband live, near Castle Douglas, in an architect-designed house with purpose-built gallery area.
Hilary is very much looking forward to the event, and the chance to show visitors her studio and chat about her work and inspirations. They will be able to see a complete new body of work which includes textile drawings and still lives.
She said: ‘”I am originally from County Antrim but have lived in Edinburgh and York. My husband and I moved to Galloway in 2007 when we retired. We were drawn to the area by its landscape and accessibility to friends and family in Northern Ireland, England and Edinburgh. We liked the fact that Dumfries and Galloway has a distinct identity. I love the richness of the region, both in artists and cultural events and other things too – like the view from my studio window.”
Simon describes himself as: ‘a short, balding photographer from Raumati Beach, New Zealand, who now lives in Scotland and likes vegemite on toast, cats, hats, cities, sunny days in Kirkcudbrightshire and taking photographs. He has a particular love of urban and street themes and has spent the last year capturing the many facets of Glasgow life – the results will be on show at Spring Fling. He says: “I’m interested in capturing the essence of a place and its people. Getting a good picture is all about being in the right place at the right time and anticipating what’s going to occur.”
Aucheencairn, Castle Douglas
Natalie used to live near Putney Bridge and trained as a jeweller before heading north. Prior to moving to Dumfries and Galloway, she lived on the isle of Eigg for 11 years in a house with no electricity. Nowadays she makes exquisitely delicate jewellery – many pieces are miniature crochet in pure silver.
The things she values about Dumfries and Galloway include: “A broad and well-supported artistic community, and sense of belonging. There’s the beautiful countryside, the silence, the empty roads, the sheep, cattle and birdlife, the clear, dark, dark night skies, the clear water and the lichen-laden trees.”
Natalie’s commissions are varied and she gets great pleasure out of creating jewellery of great personal meaning to customers. These have included a ring for a widower, made from some of his wife’s jewellery. In 2005 Natalie also made the wedding rings exchanged by a couple on the first day that civil partnerships became legal.
Kate first worked as an art instructor in a girls’ Grammar School in London and was awarded a Post-Graduate Scholarship for Sculpture in India in the early 1980s. She has shown painting and sculpture in exhibitions in and around London as well as in France, India, and America, has taught painting and mosaics in London, Cumbria and Scotland, and written research articles on mosaic art.
Kate’s work ranges from small mosaics to spectacular two-metre screens and large wall hangings. It reflects a fascination with ancient symbolism, and motifs like moons, ladders and towers which are infused in many world cultures. Spring Fling visitors (who, during the event, can book one of Kate’s courses at a special discount) will see the tools and materials she uses such as glass, marble, fiber glass and gold leaf, and be able to chat to her about pieces she has made, such as the screen – currently on show in an exhibition in Norwich - telling the story of Jacob’s Ladder for Lichfield Cathedral’s celebrations of the King James Bible’s 400th anniversary.
Kim, a portrait photographer, says: “There is no such thing as an ordinary face. If you think there is, you aren’t looking closely enough.” Last year he was artist in residence at the internationally famous Wigtown Book Fair, and took portraits of 170 authors, visitors and residents. In 2011 he also took part in Spring Fling, asking each of the 300 visitors who came through his door if they would be pictured for a special project. More than half agreed and their portraits were then published in his book Facing the Weekend.
Ross is a painter, who is known for his striking images and detailed, realistic style. He previously lived in Poole and worked in Weymouth before moving to Dumfries and Galloway when his girlfriend got a teaching post in the pretty rural town of Newton Stewart.
The region, in south-west Scotland, is renowned as a hotbed of creative talent and each year many of its best artists and crafts makers go through a rigorous selection process in the hope of being chosen to be part of the annual Spring Fling event.
This is the second year that Ross has taken part. He said: “I enjoyed last year so much that I’d have been disappointed not to have the chance to do it again this year.”
He added: “I really like working in this area. There’s a nice balance of rural and more developed areas. Everyone is very positive and there’s a relaxed approach to things which you don’t get everywhere.”
Port William, Newton Stewart
Prints and batik
Lisa, who makes beautiful original prints and batik works on paper, developed her talents during the 1990s at evening classes after work; much of her work is inspired by birdlife.
After years of working for the Countryside Agency (previously the Countryside Commission) in Cheltenham as a conservationist, Lisa was made redundant. Fortunately the quality of her art was obvious and allowed her to embark on a thriving new career.
In 2006 she moved to Dumfries and Galloway. She said: “I relocated here because it offered so much – quality of life, fabulous birdlife and wonderful landscapes. The birds and the landscapes are crucial to my art.”
This is the sixth year that Lisa has taken part in Spring Fling. She said: “It’s great to interact with people – they are always interested in the techniques I use. Visitors also get the chance to use my press and create their own pictures; it’s lovely to see the delight on their faces when they see the results.”
Lisa’s work is now enjoyed internationally, with pieces having gone to Canada, the USA, Australia and Germany. Nearly two dozen pieces were also purchased by the Nuffield Foundation to decorate a new hospital.
Laurieston, Castle Douglas
Originally from Lancashire, Phil was a child mental health nurse in London before moving to Laurieston in Dumfries and Galloway after his partner got a job in the region as a doctor. The move has certainly paid dividends as he was named Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year (Abstract) in 2010. His studio is a former stables, once home to horses which hauled timber in the nearby forests.
Speaking about the region Phil said: “I love all of it – the contrasting landscapes, the seascapes, the air, the space, the smell and the feeling. The changing seasons are all very special, there are hidden, quiet places. Galloway has so many different moods and changing faces.”
One of Morag’s specialities is ‘wearable art clothing’. Her creations include a fabulous kimono made from a patchwork of silks, each printed with naturalistic and geometric motifs. Drop by her Kirkcudbright studio and you will see wrap skirts, fabrics, scarves and bags. Morag’s range also extends to wall hangings and wallpapers.
Currently supplying fabrics for a prestigious New York hotel development, Morag’s work is popular in the USA as well as in the UK. Many of the patterns that she uses in her works derive from photographs she has taken in the Dumfries and Galloway countryside.
The best pots from the two most recent of Andy’s firings will be on show in an exhibition of recent paintings, along with work from a rich back catalogue of painting from 1993 onwards. The pots will include delicate porcelain beakers and bowls. Soft ash glazes, pale celadon limestone glazes and a subtle fly ash secondary fluxing that affects each pot in a unique way. He creates strong stoneware bowls and vessels with local granite sand and fireclay intrusions. There are warm slips and glazes, on pots which are great to hold, feel and use.
About Spring Fling
• Spring Fling – which has been shortlisted for Best Cultural Event in the prestigious Scottish Thistle Awards 2012 - runs from Saturday 2nd June to Tuesday 5th June.
• Some 76 artists and craft makers are taking part and visitors will be able to see, and buy, a diverse range of outstanding items spanning painting and photography, jewellery and textiles, glass, ceramics and furniture
• All of the studios taking part open daily from 10.30am to 5pm and free to visit.
• For full details of the programme and the artists, makers and designers taking part, see the website at www.spring-fling.co.uk .
• See www.pmcphotography.co.uk, www.natalievardey.com, www.andersonsart.co.uk, www.cliencestudio.co.uk, www.corsockglass.co.uk
• For enquiries, interviews etc. contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or Ellen Drummond Ferroni on 07801 820757.
• Artists’ photos are available through Dropbox at the addresses below or on request:
• Other free-to-use images are available from the Spring Fling website or on request. Download a complete brochure showing all the artists at www.spring-fling.co.uk/brochure