Vulnerable bird species are the inspiration for the exquisite work that glassmaker Amanda Simmons will be showing at this weekend’s Spring Fling open studios event.
Spring Fling is a chance to meet painters, original printmakers, jewellers, glassmakers, wood and metal workers and photographers in the cottages, farms, galleries, mills, converted churches and other places that they work and live, throughout Dumfries and Galloway.
Amanda has spent the last four years perfecting the techniques for her elegant and delicate designs – which include representations of Arctic Terns.
Based at Rosebank, Corsock, near Castle Douglas (Studio 48) she is internationally renowned for her highly skilled work, which involves firing the glass in a kiln. For some parts of the process she wears a special protective suit and mask and breathes through an air filter.
Amanda said: ‘Birds have featured in my work ever since moving to Dumfries and Galloway – I’m now surrounded with so many and am even living with swallows in my studio, so Spring Flingers should be ready to duck.
‘The variety and the beauty of birdlife is just astounding, but so many species are in sharp decline, vulnerable to climate change, habitat loss and other threats.
‘This work is a celebration of the richness of the birdlife there is in the world, and also a reflection of its fragility.’
The latest pieces follow a residency at Lyth Arts Centre in Caithness where Amanda spoke to scientists based at the Environmental Research Institute.
She learned about the new seabed turbines based in the Pentland Firth and the research that reduces their risk to sea birds. The term ‘collision risk’ stood out to her and she felt this was relevant to birds in a much wider sense.
Amanda will also have a range of new lighting designs exclusively for Spring Fling visitors.
This year the 93 Spring Fling studios will include two other glassmakers, Alan J Brockbank, Kelton near Castle Douglas (Studio 32) and Cressa McLarenin Dumfries (Studio 66).
Joanna Macaulay, events and exhibitions manager for Upland which runs Spring Fling, said: ‘Spring Fling visitors not only love the glass they can see and buy in the studios but are fascinated by the sophisticated process involved in this kind of work. This year there’s a chance to meet three very different glassmakers and discover more about how they design and create such beautiful pieces.’
Full details of the Spring Fling details are available at www.spring-fling.co.uk.