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Friday, May 9, 2014

This Year at Spring Fling....

After everything else that Spring Fling have been up to of late it almost comes as a shock that the original Open Studios event is almost upon us again...
Visitors to this year’s Spring Fling can look forward to work by 22 new exhibitors, plus a clutch of welcome returns from the past.
Among those taking place for the first time are Patricia Cain and Sam Cartman, both are renowned visual artists, with Patricia having won the 2010 Threadneedle and Aspect prizes and this year’s Royal Watercolour Society Award at the RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition in London.
Also out of Glasgow is the ceramicist Archie McCall. While a D&G native by birth, Archie built a successful career at Glasgow School of Art where he became Head of Ceramics and toured the world from Russia and China to Canada and Denmark giving lectures and workshops. He now has a pottery at Kindar Mill in New Abbey.
Janet Ibbotson has had a long career in textiles, now working in best quality cashmere and silks she first made her name in Carnaby Street. She now sees garments she made 40 years ago selling in the Vintage Department of Bloomingdales in New York.  Sculptor Marilyn Crawford also has strong London links, having studied at Chelsea School of Art in the 60s.
Other interesting newcomers include Micheal Batey a painter who lives in D&G and creates dramatic skyscapes inspired by scenes from his life as a gamekeeper. By contrast Icelander, Nanna Bjoornsdottir, will be showing work which includes a series of compositions featuring gifts from her children.
Jenny Rose, a New Zealander, creates original hand-made prints. Her background, however, was as a haute couture dressmaker whose high profile clients included a Miss Universe.  Michelle Bennett Oates, who came to D&G two years ago, is an accomplished still life artist in the style of the Dutch school of flower painters. Peter Wareing, whose nature-inspired creations were popular at Spring Fling’s exhibition at Newcastle’s Biscuit Gallery, has a highly distinctive style inspired by ceramics from Japan and China.
Astrid Jaekel is carrying out a fascinating Windows of Wigtown project which will transform the town’s famous County Buildings, and is part of a Wigtown Book Festival residency.
Jewellery by Shona Guthrie
This year Spring Fling also welcomes three new jewellery-makers Hannah Morris Knowles, Joanne Garner, Shona Guthrie. Shona’s work is very much inspired by the natural environment, Joanne emphasises the striking and tactile while Hannah has a flair for combining unexpected materials.
Some of the artists involved are at the start of their careers, and bring a real freshness. Among them is Ryan Gillan who creates digital and stop-frame animation. Take a look at Tasty Bait
Suzi Plunkett at the Spring Fling show in Glasgow
Suzi Plunkett produces delightful animal images, for everything from cushions to phone covers, using thousands of tiny dots. Her work was a great success at the Spring Fling exhibition at Glasgow’s Lighthouse gallery. Rory Laycock is a final year student in Fine Art who uses everyday objects to explore “the other”.
Work by Ceri Allan
Spring Fling’s Neighbours scheme invites artists from bordering regions to take part. In 2014 there is a strong Cumbrian contingent which features:
·        Dorothy Ramsay – painter and printmaker
·        Heather Davies – abstract landscape painter
·        Fraser Irvine – abstract and landscape painter
·        Caroline Dalton – fine art and theatre designer producing highly unusual sculpture
·        Ceri Allan – painter specializing in urban scenes
At the same time Spring Fling is also delighted to be able to welcome back a series of exhibitors who took part in past events.
Among them is the highly reputed willow and fibre artist Lizzie Farey, whose work sells globally and is especially popular in the USA. Then there is Godfrey Smith, a maker of highly unusual leather shoes. And finally Jim Buchanan an environmental artist who makes marvelous labyrinths and shadow installations.


  1. With reference to 'The original Open Studios Event' in the Spring Fling write up I would be glad to receive the following information. How many Dumfries and Galloway artists in the event are showing work in their own studio? Please do not include anyone sharing another artist's studio, hiring a hall, showing work in a gallery that is not their gallery or anyone from without who is just popping back for the weekend. Thank you

  2. Hi - the vast majority of the posts that appear on The Commonty were sent into the blog by artists, arts organisations/events - we then publish them with the odd editorial intro and sometimes an illustration if none has been provided. This is a press release sent into the Commonty by the team at Spring Fling. Hopefully someone at Spring Fling will respond to your interesting question - alas The Commonty cannot. ATB

  3. Hello Anonymous. Thank you for your interest in Spring Fling. To answer your question - 73 studios, almost 80%. You can find this information yourself in the Spring Fling 2014 brochure - - if you have any further questions drop me an email on
    Many thanks, Leah