Fling yourself into the world of arts and crafts

Visitors can can discover the creative secrets of the artists and makers when taking part in Scotland’s leading open studios weekend.

This year Spring Fling artists and makers are offering visitors the chance to learn about everything from painting and illustration to textile design, printmaking and pottery.

There are even workshops and master classes on spoon carving to how to get the most from your violin.

The special sessions take place throughout April and May and give people the chance to learn the skills and techniques used by high-quality professionals.

All are artists and makers who have been specially selected to take part in Spring Fling, Scotland’s premiere open studios weekend which takes place across Dumfries and Galloway from 25 to 27 May.

Among them is artist and printmaker Pamela Grace (The Bothy, Kirkpatrick Durham – Studio 44 on the Spring Fling Pink Route) who is running a workshop called Blossoms and Beastieson 28 May.

Pamela said: ‘I love the flowers, birds and insects that are all around us in Dumfries and Galloway, and the inspiration for my work comes from the fields and hedgerows.

‘Every year I find that visitors not only want to know how I make my original prints, but really want to learn some of the techniques and try it out for themselves.

‘So this year they’ll have the chance. I’ll demonstrate and explain various techniques and they will be able to go home with a dry point etching they have created for themselves.’

No previous experience is necessary – just an interest in art and wildlife.

Some workshops are for adults, others for children and there are ones for absolute beginners as well as surgeries where people can upgrade and add to their existing skills.

Options include:

Ruth Elizabeth Jones – Hand-built Smoke-fired Ceramics; Deborah Campbell – Textile Printing Techniques; Lisa Rothwell-Young – Make an Etched Silver Ring; Gwen Adair – Forensic Drawing; Patti Lean – Painting Surgery; Jo Gallant – Machine Embroidery; Hope London – Brushes & Brunch; Vaughan Trower – How to get the best from your Violin; Peter Smith – Spoon Carving.

There are five workshops where children can do everything from lantern-making to creating concertina books and throwing pencil holder pots.

Joanna Macaulay, events and exhibitions manager for Upland which runs Spring Fling, said: ‘Spring Fling visitors are very creative people and so often really want to learn from our artists and makers, so this year we are offering a really wide variety of workshops and master classes.

‘They are a wonderful way to learn new skills, meet really interesting people, spend relaxing time in a lovely part of Scotland – and perhaps discover a new hobby or pastime.’

Spring Fling is a much-loved feature of the Scotland’s cultural calendar, which this year sees 94 studios across the beautiful region of Dumfries and Galloway, throw open their doors to the public.

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

Full details of the workshops are detailed in the brochure or can be seen online at www.spring-fling.co.uk.