A Moffat potter and a Stranraer artist who paints “wonky houses” will be among 15 new participants in this year’s Spring Fling.

The annual open studios weekend (from 25-27 May) is Scotland’s premier event of its kind. There are a record-breaking 104 studios to visit across Dumfries and Galloway.

Amanda Hayler, who works mostly in watercolour and pen, has her studio in a caravan that she has painted in bold colours after the interior was specially converted by her husband.

Art has always been a part of Amanda’s life, but it was a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer in 2012, aged 47, that led her to pursue art as a form of therapy.

She said: “I wanted a way to work through the anger, sadness and sense of grief that I felt. Art did that, it was something for me – art gave me a reason to live.”

Amanda moved to Stranraer in 2021 where she gained confidence in her artwork and started to show it publicly in local exhibitions. It is now a full-time occupation.

She added: “I’m delighted to be taking part in Spring Fling and really looking forward to welcoming visitors into my caravan studio.”

The work Amanda creates is full of colour, joy and life – whether it’s the joyous higgledy-piggledy houses, or lovely scenes inspired by the area’s landscapes and coastlines.

On the other side of the region Rebecca Woods, a former psychotherapist and counsellor from Liverpool, will be showing her superbly made and delicately decorated pottery.

She moved to Moffat in 2022 – and Spring Fling was one of the reasons.

Rebecca said: “We knew about Spring Fling and that was one of the pulls of Dumfries and Galloway. It also suited us because we wanted somewhere with lovely countryside.

“So, it’s very exciting to be able to take part this year – it’s the first time there have been studios in Moffat for a long time, and there will be three of us, so hopefully there will be lots for visitors to see and enjoy.”

Her work, which ranges from functional homewares to decorative moon jars, has several distinctive features. 

One is that she makes her own glazes from scratch, another is her love of the highly skilled and intricate Korean Mishima inlaying technique. 

The other 11 new studios underline the sheer diversity of contemporary art and craft that can be found at Spring Fling. They are:

  • Elizabeth Gault, Kirkcudbright – jewellery metalsmith.
  • Elspeth Hart, New Abbey – ceramicist making sculptural and functional work.
  • Kerry Samantha Boyes, Kirkcudbright – who creates remarkable fake food.
  • Hetal Chudasama, Thornhill – original prints and installation art.
  • Richard Foster, Moffat – printmaker inspired by northern landscape.
  • Yuliya Lennon, Colvend – painter deeply influenced by medieval art.
  • Scott McFarlane, Borgue – painter inspired by his local environment.
  • Sarah Louise Plant, Kirkcowan – painter whose work explores the region’s landscapes.
  • David Quinn, Kirkcudbright – fine art photographer.
  • Sarah Ross-Thompson, Portpatrick – original printmaker.
  • Timothy Westley, Newton Stewart – blade-maker, who creates chef knives from recycled waste.

Visitors can also go to the studios of two other new participants, Corsock ceramicist Lorna Philips and Dalry multimedia artist Sarah McCusker, who were selected for this year’s Emerge programme which nurtures up-and-coming artists and makers.

Joanna Jones, Upland Assistant Director, said: It’s great to be able to welcome so many new artists and makers to Spring Fling, and to have studios taking part all the way from Moffat to Stranraer.

“The range of work is quite remarkable and offer visitors an incredible choice of places to visit, people to meet and art to discover.”

Spring Fling has arranged bus tours to give visitors the chance to studios in more remote locations – including some of the new studios. They are a chance to relax, let someone else do the driving, meet new people. Places can be booked online.

  • The third Moffat artist will be Ruth Clayton, a watercolourist inspired by the energy of the sea, who has taken part in past Spring Flings.  


Notes for editors 

About Spring Fling

  • Spring Fling made its name a 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 [email protected]
  • For the full list of participating studios visit www.spring-fling.co.uk
  • Brochures can be ordered from the website and will be available in April.  
  • Spring Fling is pleased to once again have the support from Dumfries & Galloway Council as one of the region’s Signature Events. 
  • The open studios event also plays an important role in supporting artists and makers who are often working in remote areas – and contributes significantly to the region’s economy.
  • Since its conception, Spring Fling has attracted around 174,000 visitors who have made over 546,000 studio visits.
  • In 21 years over £10.2 million has been spent in the studios and the event has brought over £17.5 million for the region’s economy.
  • Visitors will be able to follow six colour-coded routes taking them round studios in different parts of the region.
  • Some studios will have special evening openings and there will be other attractions like walking and bus tours and, demonstrations on the lead up to the event. 

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 [email protected] or call Upland on 01387 213 218.