Press Release: Willow Stags and Wood-Fired Kilns –Discover Top Scottish Craft Makers16th May 2016
Spring Fling offers the chance to meet the makers of beautiful jewellery, glass, ceramics, furniture, willow work and much more. From potters and jewellers to willow workers and furniture makers – this year’s Spring Fling will feature some of the best in Scottish craft.
Now in its 14th year, Scotland’s premier open studios visual art and craft weekend takes place across Dumfries and Galloway from 28-30 May. Among the 94 specially selected participants are Trevor Leat, known for the huge sculptures he has created for Wickerman and other festivals. His delightful studio in the village of Auchencairn is packed with freshly harvested willow, hand-made baskets, wall decorations and even a life-sized stag.Trevor said: “I love to see people’s reaction when they first come into the workshop. They look amazed because they usually don’t know what to expect, so it’s like entering another world.”
Along with many makers he sees Spring Fling as a major asset to the region, its economy and to the craft sector more widely. He said: “Spring Fling offers a great platform for so many craft makers of different kinds, and gives visitors the opportunity to talk to them and find out how they work.”Renowned slipware potters Hannah McAndrew and Douglas Fitch will be firing up the wood-fired kiln at their studio near Castle Douglas, throwing pots on the wheel and demonstrating a variety of decorative techniques.Using a kiln of this kind gets superb results, but can be risky. Hannah said: “Wood firing isn't for everyone. It's not a party as it takes a lot of concentration to keep track of the firing and there can be many thousands of pounds worth of stock inside. “You’ve put your everything into making something and it could all be ruined completely. But it is a great spectacle.”
A popular destination for visitors is the lovely early 19th century tweed mill in the coastal village of New Abbey where Glasgow School of Art former head of ceramics, Archie McCall, lives and works.Something he values about Spring Fling is that many visitors have a real interest in craft. He says: “I’m always so impressed by the people who come here. There are a lot of serious collectors and people who really want to find out about what you do and engage.”Archie and his wife Irena have spent 20 years renovating the building and creating the garden. Visitors can see his workshop and a range of his distinctive ceramics, which reflect his long-held fascination with 16th and 17th century Japanese work.
Other ceramicists include Andrew Adair, Clare Dawdry, Myer Halliday and Jo Walker. There will be glassware from Amanda Simmons, textiles by Morag Macpherson, metalwork by Adam Booth and furniture by Daniel Lacey. Among the jewellers are Kaz Robertson works in resin, creating colourful pieces some of which are reversible while others have magnets built in, and Lisa Rothwell-Young’s who emphasises traditional techniques.
Clare Hanna, Director (maternity cover) for Upland, which runs Spring Fling, said: “Spring Fling is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a beautiful part of Scotland and be welcomed into the studios and homes of some truly exceptional craft makers.”