• ‘Lipfill’ not landfill – Wendy Helliwell turns old clothes into art
  • Sculptor praises event as a brilliant place to meet artists
  • More than 70 exhibitors plus festival-style food village

Elegant sculpted horses and colourful lips made using pages from Vogue plumped up with recycled jeans – just some of the fantastic and fun creations at this week’s Borders Art Fair.

BAF’s return after being forced to cancel due to COVID marks a welcome revival of a weekend event that has a growing reputation, attracting some of the most vibrant contemporary art and artists from the region and – increasingly – from far beyond.

Among the more than 70 individual artists and makers, galleries, studios and collectives taking part in the weekend event (at the Borders Event Centre, Kelso from 25-27 March) will be Greenlaw sculptor Frippy Jameson and Edinburgh mixed-media artist Wendy Helliwell.

Frippy is renowned for her horses which she likes to depict when they are at rest. She also creates beautiful sculptures modelled by her own children and will be taking one figurative piece, Cheviot Boy and Wings, to BAF.

Frippy said: “I love horses, and where many artists show them in motion, I try to capture the moments of stillness and calm – those times where you see their fragility as well as their strength.

“BAF is a brilliant chance to meet artists from all across the Borders and it is attracting a growing web of artists from all over the country. I particularly enjoy exhibiting there because it gives me the chance to exhibit some of my more conceptual work.”

This year her exhibits will include golden and white plaster horses, and she is also presenting one of BAF’s online artists’ talks, which can be seen via its website.

For Wendy Helliwell BAF will be the first in-person event she has been able to take part in since the start of the COVID lockdowns – the last one was BAF 2020. 

Wendy’s work, which is bright, colourful and fun reflects her love of fashion and her commitment to recycling and avoiding waste. Among her most striking pieces are sculptures from old shoes and dramatic 3D Vogue Lips. Her materials include old clothes and magazines, tags, labels, packaging, receipts, acrylic paint, inks, watercolours, nail polish, make-up, and spray paint.

She said: “I’ve always loved fashion and glossy fashion magazines, not necessarily to fuel my shopping needs but to give me ideas of how I can use or tweak my existing wardrobe. And like many artists I’m a hoarder with a fear of throwing anything out in case I regret it.

“It all came together when I ran out of canvas, which I used as the basis for my Vogue Lips, and found some old jeans and used them instead.

“I’ve never looked back – since then I decided my old clothes would be ‘lipfill’ rather than ending up as landfill like so many unwanted clothes do. And after that I started using old shoes for sculptures.

“It’s also made me a lot more mindful of waste and has made me think twice before I buy anything new – where was it made, will it last, and do I really need it?

“I am not going to save the world by recycling my old clothes into art but if we all do a little it will make a huge difference overall.”

A hallmark of Wendy’s work is that she always keeps a nod to the previous life of the materials, often leaving zips, belt-loops and pockets visible within the body of the work.

This year’s BAF will also feature a Spotlight Area guest curated by the Society of Scottish Artists which will feature work by four invited members Ade Adesina, Hetty Haxworth, Michelle Bianco and Mary Morrison, as well as other SSA Artists.

There will also be a “festival-style” mini indoor food village where visitors can enjoy everything from coffee and cakes to pizzas and crepes.

Frances Fergusson, BAF Director, said: “It’s been a long time but we are back at last and looking forward to building on BAF’s reputation as a showcase for an amazing array of art and craft.

“People are really looking forward to coming together again, some for the first time since the COVID lockdowns, to enjoy an event that’s lots of fun and has a friendly, vibrant buzz.”

  • For the full line-up of exhibitors, details of the talks and further information about BAF see https://www.bordersartfair.com
  • Picture of Wendy Helliwell by Colin Hattersley

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Notes for Editors

About Wendy

  • Many people will already be familiar with Wendy’s art as she created the Aff Yir Rocker Oor Wullie sculpture that was dressed in clothes donated by the likes of Midge Ure and KT Tunstall, which was auctioned to raise money for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity.
  • To view more of Wendy’s art journey you can follow her on Instagram wendyhelliwellart.
  • Visit her shop on her website https://www.wendyh.com/shop.

About Frippy

  • Frippy’s work includes special commissions created for the collection at Marchmont House near Greenlaw.
  • She studied Fine Art Sculpture at Camberwell College of Art and Design and City & Guilds of London Art School where she was awarded the Madame Tussaud Prize for Portraiture. 
  • Frippy trained in stone-carving at The Portland Sculpture Trust, Tout Quarry and with traditional stone carvers of Mahabalipuram, Southern India. 
  • See https://frippyjameson.com

Online talks and workshops

The BAF online talks and workshops, produced in collaboration with Allanbank Arts,  include:

  • The Wonders of Composition: Gill Walton SSA. Gill will take you through the basics of the classical composition techniques that she uses in her own stunning work.
  • Lino Printing Workshop: Emma Jones. Emma will take you through the process of creating your own linocut. No press required.
  • Artist’s Talk: Frippy Jameson. Sculptor Frippy Jameson talks from her wonderful studio in the Scottish Borders, takes about her working practice as a sculptor.
  • Working in Watercolour: Linda Foster. Linda discusses the processes she uses to create her distinctive, beautiful paintings.
  • How to Master the Head: George Donald RSA RSW. George, art tutor and Visiting Professor of Drawing and Anatomy at the University of Central Florida and the Royal Drawing School, explores the anatomy of the head, and how to master the drawing of it.
  • Experimenting with Mixed Media Part 1: Nicky Beckett. Nicky will demonstrate techniques for you to experiment with, using a variety of exciting and different mediums. 
  • Experimenting with Mixed Media Part 2: Nicky Beckett. Nicky will show you more techniques and encourage you to break all the rules.
  • Art Projects for 8-12 year olds with Allanbank Arts: Liz Hardy & Justine Miller. Liz and Justine demonstrate two projects that any budding young artist will learn from.
  • Encourage your children to get creative and have some fun! Craft Ideas for 3-8 year olds with Allanbank Arts: Liz Hardy & Justine Miller. Liz and Justine present four fun projects, that any child (or adult) will enjoy, using materials readily available in the home.

Further information

For media information contact Matthew Shelley on or 07786 704299 or at Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org

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