Over 80 artists and makers across Dumfries & Galloway have thrown open their digital doors for an online, autumn edition of Spring Fling Open Studios.

They include 15 new participants such as the potter Joshua Williams who returned to Galloway with his wife and child around a year ago and has been refurbishing a former butcher’s shop in Newton Stewart as his studio.

He, and other new faces such as jeweller and silversmith Iona Hall and glassmaker Hazel MacLennan of are among the 39 artists and makers whose work and studios can be seen in a range of videos.

And while no studios are physically open for the event (which has been extended from three to eight days and runs until 12 October) there are virtual tours that take viewers into of some of the remarkable places the artists live and work.

Some studios may choose to open their doors independently of the event. 

One tour is with the fabulous hatmaker Kay Ribbens’, of Mochrum Park House at Kirkcowan, and another goes to the lovely Kindar Mill, at New Abbey, belonging to ceramicist Archie McCall. Jane Fraser, Glenda Waterworth and Linda Irving have even got together for a film about themselves as three artists and makers all from the Rhinns of Galloway.

As ever Spring Fling is made up of specially selected artists and makers who create high quality work of all kinds such as painters, printmakers, jewellery makers, photographers, ceramicists, woodworkers and willow weavers.

They come from every part of the region with the likes of textile artist Janet Hughes, silversmith Lisa Rothwell Young and furniture maker Daniel Lacey in the east, while visual artists Julie Hollis, Emma Visca and potter Christopher Taylor are in and around Dumfries.

Regular Spring Fling visitors will be pleased that familiar faces such as Ailsa Black of Carsethorn furniture maker Philip Wilson of Thornhill, Maggie Ayres and Heather M Nisbett from Kirkcudbright are also taking part.

Joanna Macaulay, Assistant Director for Upland Arts Development CIC, said: “It’s great to be up and running – Spring Fling is such an popular event we were absolutely determined to find a way to make it happen.

“The artists and makers have done a huge amount to help us make the transformation from a physical to an online event and – most importantly – one that is true to the spirit of Spring Fling.

“It’s an event that is all about meeting and finding out about the lives and work of creative people, and discovering on of Scotland’s most beautiful rural regions.

“The films, the studio pages and everything else that has been set up aim to give a real flavour of the region, its artists and makers. And we hope it will encourage visitors to come here in person next year.”

While most participants are based in the region there are three taking part under the Neighbours scheme which creates links with areas bordering Dumfries and Galloway. These are Gail Kelly from Northern Ireland, who works with linocut, woodcut and lithography, potter Hannah Spicer from Ayrshire and textile artist Deborah Campbell from the Borders.

There are also six Springbacks – all people from Dumfries & Galloway who are currently living and working elsewhere.

Spring Fling is Scotland’s premiere open studios event and normally takes place in May. It was postponed and due to Covid-19 and the ongoing public health situation means it is now online at www.spring-fling.co.uk.


Notes for editors 

About Spring Fling

  • Last year 74% of visitors had been to a previous Spring Fling, 26% were new, and 99% would come again.
  • 98% rated Spring Fling as excellent or good.
  • 57% of visitors were from outside Dumfries and Galloway.
  • Visitors spent close to £1.4 million in the region.
  • More than half Spring Fling visitors spend one night or more in the region.

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 and exists 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, The Holywood Trust, The William Grant Foundation, The Heritage Lottery Fund, ASWT, Barfill. 

For media information contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or at Mjhshelley@hotmail.co.uk or call Upland on 01387 213 218.