Spring Fling will be bringing out the creative talent of younger visitors – with lots of opportunities for children to make their own art and craft.

More than a dozen of the 94 participants in Scotland’s premier open studios weekend, from 25 to 27 May, are offering special activities for the young.

Professional artists and craft makers are also running five workshops, either side of the main weekend, where children can do everything from lantern-making and drawing to creating concertina books and throwing pencil holder pots.

One of the fun things for children to do is take part in the hunt to find giant pencils and crayons in the garden of illustrator Val Macadam near Kirkbean (studio 56, on the Spring Fling Orange Route).

Val said: “I love welcoming younger visitors to my studio and they really enjoy being outside and taking up the challenge of searching for the supersize versions of my pencils and crayons – and they really are big – in fact they are taller than me.”

The artist is well-known for her quirky and humorous pictures that are inspired by country life.

And anyone who was a fan of Jackie or Blue Jeans magazines may well have encountered her work when they were young – she illustrated their short stories and drew the Just Janey cartoon strip in Catch. She also drew some of the pictures in Shoutthat were used to illustrate young readers’ letters in the Embarrassing Moments column.

On the lead up to the Spring Fling, there is the SF Pop-UP at The Oven on Dumfries High Street. Visitors can see artists and makers at work, book a kids’ workshop, buy art and craft or pick up a brochure and start plan where to visit during the main weekend.

Joanna Macaulay, Events and Exhibitions Manager for Upland which runs Spring Fling, said: “The bank holiday period at the end of May is a special chance for families to spend time together – going on outings or taking a short break. Spring Fling studios make an ideal destination as many are family friendly and there are lots with fun and creative activities for younger visitors.

“This year we are providing even more for children and families with a series of workshops, run by superb artists and makers, where they can learn new skills and go home with a piece of art and craft they have made themselves.”

Spring Fling is a much-loved feature of the Scotland’s cultural calendar, which sees dozens of studios across the beautiful region of Dumfries and Galloway, throw open their doors to the public.

It’s a chance to meet painters, original printmakers, ceramicists, jewellers and glassmakers, wood and metal workers, photographers in the cottages, farms, galleries, mills, converted churches and other places that they work and live.

This year there will also be a specially commissioned piece of public art called WaterOrgan which will be seen, and heard, on the River Nith.

Full details of the workshops and studio activities are detailed in the brochure or can be seen online at www.spring-fling.co.uk.

SF Pop-UP:

A carefully curated exhibition of work by some of this year’s Spring Fling participants, plus demonstrations, talks, a children’s activity corner and the chance to book workshops, bus tours or pick up a brochure. 

Lasting to 13 April 2019 at The Oven, High Street, Dumfries, DG1 2QT. Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sunday 12pm to 4pm.  

Studio activities include:

  • Mosaic maker Kate Anderson – try mosaic making
  • Weaver Kate Russell – have a go at weaving
  • Textile designer Jo Gallant – decorate your own cotton bag
  • Jewellery maker Alison Macleod – beaded necklace making.


  • Visual artist Bea Last – creative drawing and mark making
  • Printmaker Sarah Keast – lantern making
  • Ceramicist Christopher Taylor – throw a pot and make character pencil holders
  • Printmaker Deborah Campbell – make a creative concertina book
  • Visual artist Giulia Fiorista – drawing club.


Notes for editors 

Spring Fling

  • Spring Fling is Scotland’s premier visual art and contemporary craft open studios event covering all Dumfries and Galloway, South West Scotland. It is the flagship annual event of Upland CIC.
  • Last year 99% of visitors described their Spring Fling experience as excellent or good.
  • The studios welcomed over 31,000 unique studio visits during the three-day event in 2018.
  • More than half (56%) of visitors came from outwith the region – underlying its value to the cultural tourism industry.
  • Together they generated £1.2 million for the regional economy.
  • For further details on Spring Fling please visit  www.spring-fling.co.uk or contact the team on info@spring-fling.co.uk
  • This year, a new joint marketing partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival will be launched. More information to follow.

About Upland

Upland CIC (Community Interest Company) supports artists and makers based in, and with connections to, the region. It will delivers, events, training, networking, support and opportunities as part of a year-round programme to benefit the region, its artists, communities and economy. Upland CIC runs the annual Spring Fling contemporary visual art and craft open studios weekend in Dumfries and Galloway. It will work closely with other arts bodies in the region to further-strengthen the sector. Upland is based at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries andexists to:

  • produce and deliver festivals, events, and experimental projects of the highest quality
  • nurture an environment where artistic excellence thrives and grows
  • inspire and educate a wide range of audiences, customers and clients to understand, celebrate, be actively engaged in and supportive of visual art and craft practice
  • raise the profile of visual artists and makers locally, nationally and internationally fulfilling a crucial role in the culture and tourism of Dumfries and Galloway
  • build strategic partnerships at regional, national and international level
  • maintain a financially sound and adaptively resilient organisation
  • use, and encourage the use of, innovative and emerging digital technology
  • work to the benefit the local economy and the sustainability of local communities.

Its funders are Creative Scotland, D&G Council, Holywood Trust, The William Grant Foundation, ASWT, Barfill.  

Upland is very happy to help journalists. Contact us and we can set up interviews, provide pictures and photo opportunities. In some circumstances we can offer ready-written copy. For media information contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or at Mjhshelley@hotmail.co.uk or call Upland on 01387 213 218.

About EventScotland  

EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit www.EventScotland.org. Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews

EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see www.visitscotland.org or for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see www.visitscotland.com