• Biscuit Factory exhibition coincides with 20th open studios
  • Welcome chance to re-engage with public after COVID

Spring Fling is presenting work by some of Dumfries and Galloway’s finest artists and makers at the UK’s largest art, craft and design gallery.

The exhibition at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, opens on the evening of 13 May as part of The Late Shows event, and runs to 24 July. It features work by 20 past and present Spring Fling participants.

It will include ceramics, textiles, photography, painting, original prints, mobiles, furniture, mixed media and illustration and takes place to coincide with the 20th annual Spring Fling open studios weekend on 2-5 June.

Chris Bridgman, Upland Project Manager, who is organising this year’s Spring Fling, said: “The Biscuit Factory exhibition is a chance to fly the flag for the creative community in Dumfries and Galloway, letting people from across the north of England see the sheer range and quality of art and craft produced here.

“An exhibition at a venue like this would be welcome at any time, but after years of COVID restrictions it’s a brilliant opportunity for our artists and makers to reconnect with the public.

“We also hope that some of the exhibition visitors will be tempted to cross the border and pay us a visit during the Spring Fling open studios weekend.”

Many of the participants commented on how much they are looking forward to the exhibition.

  • Denize Zygadlo, a mixed media artist from Dunscore: “Having been involved with Spring Fling from its beginning I have enjoyed the developments that have unfolded throughout its 20 years of open studio events. Being able to exhibit work beyond Dumfries is one of the great benefits of being a part of Spring Fling, and the opportunity to exhibit at The Biscuit Factory this year is yet another bonus. To show work to a new audience outside D&G gives an artist the chance to reach fresh eyes and to see how their work sits in a wider context.”

She will be showing prints on cloth of a jacket that belonged to her mother in the 1950s. 

  • Caroline Hone, a painter from Kirkcudbright: “I was last in Newcastle days before the first lockdown, it is exciting to be coming back to this dynamic city to exhibit at the Biscuit Factory. The Galloway landscape is my subject especially the area around the Solway Firth. I hope that my paintings transmit a sense of the beauty of this area.”
  • Ruth Elizabeth Jones, a ceramicist from Moniaive: “I’m looking forward to exhibiting at the Biscuit Factory and delighted to present my hand-built work south of the border for the first time. I’ll be showing a smoke-fired moon jar, and a selection of work from my Holding series. These hand-built vessels, made with textured clay, were developed in the lockdown. The work is a response to the holding position we all found ourselves in, and the extra pressure we have all had to contain through the pandemic. Moments of calm in a sea of chaos.”
  • Jay Rubinstein, a maker of wooden mobiles from Dundrennan: “The Biscuit Factory is a fantastic showcase for artists and craftspeople and their ability to give people the chance to see works in such an open and airy setting. There are few spaces I’ve seen which display such a range of applied art. It’s a place I’m always drawn to when visiting Newcastle.”

His pieces will include The Geese, the largest mobile he’s made and which is inspired by the flocks that come to Galloway every year. Then there is The Tyger, inspired by the famous Blake poem.  

  • Joshua Williams, a potter from Newton Stewart: “The exhibition at the Biscuit Factory will be my first show of this calibre. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to exhibit among the makers of such quality, especially on the occasion of Spring Fling’s 20th.”
  • Doug Fitch, a potter from Corsock, said: “Last time I visited the Biscuit Factory I was impressed with the diversity, quality and quantity of work exhibited there and at the time I thought it was a place that we should have our pots. It is great to have the opportunity now to do just that.”
  • Ailsa Black, an illustrator from Carsethorn: “I’m really looking forward to showing these new paintings in Newcastle and in such a fabulous gallery.  Two of the pieces I am exhibiting are part of a new collection of paintings on an underwater theme which I have been exploring.”
  • Daniel Lacey, furniture maker from Langholm who uses native sustainable timbers: “I’ve been to the Biscuit Factory once before, and am really excited to be exhibiting at this pre-eminent venue alongside fellow makers. It’s bound to be a show-stopper.”

He will be showing a piece called Piefl, the short name for the pied flycatcher, a his’n’hers pair of bedside cabinets which is part of a limited range of furniture based on local moorland flora and fauna.  

The range of work on show will be very broad. Alistair Hamilton, a photographer from Kirkcudbright, will be showing a series of images from his Lichen project.

He said: “These images are part of an ongoing series I have been making of lichen for a number of years. People also see patterns in lichen growth that resemble human-made maps. This is not a coincidence. Colonies of lichen grow towards one another, expanding to consume resources that they need to live until they meet. In the same way, human countries and settlements have expanded towards one another to take advantage of natural resources that allow their populations to thrive.”

Participating artists and makers


  • Andy Priestman, Bargrennan
  • Archie McCall, New Abbey
  • Fitch & McAndrew, Corsock
  • Joshua Williams, Newton Stewart
  • Ruth Elizabeth Jones, Moniaive


  • Caroline Hone, Kirkcudbright
  • Heather Blanchard, near Lockerbie
  • Heather M Nisbett, Kirkcudbright 
  • Liz McQueen, Eskdalemuir
  • Patti Lean, Crossmichael, Castle Douglas


  • Colin Blanchard, near Lockerbie
  • Lisa Hooper, Port William
  • Pamela Grace, Kirkpatrick Durham
  • Sarah Stewart, Wigtown

Mixed Media

  • Denise Zygadlo, Dunscore


  • Ailsa Black, Carsethorn


  • Alistair Hamilton, Kirkcudbright


  • Deborah Campbell, now in Kilmacolm, Inverclyde


  • Daniel Lacey, Langholm


  • Jay Rubinstein, Dundrennan


Notes for editor

This year’s Spring Fling programme includes

  • Modern Makers: 14 May to 25 June at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. An exhibition celebrating the Modern Makers programme which allows young people to learn traditional craft techniques.
  • Spring Fling at 20: 28 May to 2 July at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. An exhibition featuring work by more than 40 past and present participants.
  • Spring Fling Open Studios Weekend: 2-5 June across Dumfries and Galloway. Close to 100 specially selected artists and makers open their studios.

About Spring Fling

  • Brochures can be ordered from the Spring Fling website and a downloadable version is also available. For further details visit www.spring-fling.co.uk.
  • The organisers will ensure that all government COVID-19 guidance is followed so visitors and participants can take part in a safe Spring Fling.
  • Spring Fling made its name as 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.
  • For further details visit www.spring-fling.co.uk or contact info@spring-fling.co.uk
  • Spring Fling is pleased to once again have support from Dumfries & Galloway Council as one of the region’s Signature Events. 

About Upland

Upland CIC (Community Interest Company) supports artists and makers based in, and with connections to, the region. It 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
  • 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 Barfill Trust. 

About Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com. Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland.

For media information contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or at Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org or call Upland on 01387 213 218.