Vulnerable bird species are the inspiration for the exquisite work that glassmaker Amanda Simmons will be showing at this weekend’s Spring Fling open studios event.

Amanda has spent the last four years perfecting the techniques for her elegant and delicate designs – which include representations of Arctic Terns.

Based at Rosebank, Corsock, near Castle Douglas (Studio 48) she is internationally renowned for her highly skilled work, which involves firing the glass in a kiln. For some parts of the process she wears a special protective suit and mask and breathes through an air filter.

Amanda said: “Birds have featured in my work ever since moving to Dumfries and Galloway – I’m now surrounded with so many and am even living with swallows in my studio, so Spring Flingers should be ready to duck.

“The variety and the beauty of birdlife is just astounding, but so many species are in sharp decline, vulnerable to climate change, habitat loss and other threats.

“This work is a celebration of the richness of the birdlife there is in the world, and also a reflection of its fragility.”

The latest pieces follow a residency at Lyth Arts Centre in Caithness where Amanda spoke to scientists based at the Environmental Research Institute. 

She learned about the new seabed turbines based in the Pentland Firth and the research that reduces their risk to sea birds. The term “collision risk” stood out to her and she felt this was relevant to birds in a much wider sense. 

Amanda will also have a range of new lighting designs exclusively for Spring Fling visitors.

This year the 93 Spring Fling studios will include two other glassmakers, Alan J Brockbank, Kelton near Castle Douglas (Studio 32) and Cressa McLaren in Dumfries (Studio 66).

Joanna Macaulay, Events and Exhibitions Manager for Upland which runs Spring Fling, said: “Spring Fling visitors not only love the glass they can see and buy in the studios but are fascinated by the sophisticated process involved in this kind of work. This year there’s a chance to meet three very different glassmakers and discover more about how they design and create such beautiful pieces.”

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


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 or contact the team on
  • 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 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 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 or for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see