Spring Fling ready to return after a two-year gap

Ninety-six artists and makers set to welcome back the public for Dumfries and Galloway’s big celebration of creativity.

The full line-up  has been unveiled for the 20th Spring Fling open studios event – which is being extended to four days and takes place over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend.

A total of 96 participants in every part of Dumfries and Galloway will throw open their studio doors and welcome in the public between June 2 and 5.

It will mark Spring Fling’s return to being a physical first event after two years in which it was largely or completely digital due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many participants have a long association with the event and have spoken about how much they are looking forward to it, and the role it has in their lives, careers and businesses.

Alison Macleod, a jewellery maker who exhibits in Thornhill: ‘I love Spring Fling – it’s such a vibrant event bringing so many people to the region and is brilliant exposure for all of the artists.’

Amanda Simmons, a world-renowned glassmaker based in Corsock: ‘Spring Fling is one of the only shows where I get to talk to the people who buy my work. I enjoy taking visitors through my thought processes and how I make the work while giving them access to the studio and equipment that is needed to make the work.’

Bella Green, visual artist and jewellery maker from Lockerbie: ‘I have been in Spring Fling every year apart from one since it started, so its 20th year will be a great celebration. I have missed engaging with the public as I enjoy sharing my space work and knowledge.’

Hope London, a painter and mixed media artist, from Wigtown: ‘Since I moved to Wigtown and took part in the early Spring Fling open studios the event and the organisation behind it have played a valuable role in my practice. It inspires me to keep creating innovating and putting the work out there no matter what challenges life throws in the way.’

Jo Gallant, a textile artist from Mossdale who has taken part in 18 previous Spring Flings: ‘I have been involved in Spring Fling since the beginning both as a participant and founder board member so really wanted to be part of this 20th event. Also I have really missed being able to meet the public face to face over most of the last 18 months so am very much hoping that I can have my studio really open and not just virtually.’

Kay Ribbens, a maker of fabulous hats, based in Kirkcowan: ‘Spring Fling is a really important time of my year and has been throughout the years. It gives me an opportunity to open my studio to the public and show all my latest work in one place and to meet visitors face to face. It is also inspiring to know that I am part of a large network of artists and makers working all over Dumfries and Galloway.’

The full list of artists and makers is available from the Spring Fling website and includes everyone from potters, painters and original printmakers to furniture makers, textile artists and jewellery designers.

Chris Bridgman, Upland project manager, who is organising this year’s event, said: ‘This is going to be one of the most special Spring Flings ever, partly because it’s the 20th, also because of the jubilee, but perhaps most of all because it marks our return to being a physical first open studios event.

‘From modest beginnings it has grown to become Scotland’s leading open studios event and, as so many of the artists and makers have said, it plays an enormously important role in their lives and the life of our community.

‘We are really looking forward to welcoming people from across Scotland, and far beyond, to meet amazing artists and makers in every part of Dumfries and Galloway and to take time out to enjoy one of the most beautiful and hospitable areas of Scotland.’

The organisers will ensure that all government COVID-19 guidance is followed so visitors and participants can take part in a safe Spring Fling.

For further details visit www.spring-fling.co.uk.