This year the annual Dumfries and Galloway open studios arts and crafts event, Spring Fling, celebrates its 10th birthday. Spring Fling is a great opportunity to meet some of the most creative and talented crafts makers in South West Scotland, chat to them about their work and see them in their studios.
We take a look at the work of five of the makers who will open their doors to the public between 02 and 05 June 2012.
Amanda Simmons - Glassware
Amanda says she has the ‘perfect commute to work’ - from the former village shop which is her home it’s up the garden to the big old shed which is her studio. Visitors will immediately be struck by the colour and sculptural character of her glass. It comes in many shapes and sizes, including engraved back-lit wall-hung pieces and large ovoid vessels inspired by the buoys she saw in Lybster Harbour during a residency in Caithness.
Amanda has a scientific background, and the chemistry of glassmaking has always been one of its fascinations. But ultimately she says ‘it’s the colour and the light which really brings it alive for me’.
Morag Macpherson - Textiles
One of Morag’s specialities is ‘wearable art clothing’. Her creations include a fabulous kimono made from a patchwork of silks, each printed with naturalistic and geometric motifs. Drop by her Kirkcudbright studio and you will see wrap skirts, fabrics, scarves and bags. Morag’s range also extends to wall hangings and wallpapers.
Currently supplying fabrics for a prestigious New York hotel development, Morag’s work is popular in the USA as well as in the UK. Many of the patterns that she uses in her works derive from photographs she has taken in the Dumfries and Galloway countryside.
Hannah McAndrew - Ceramics
From cereal bowls to casseroles, Hannah’s pottery is functional as well as beautifully decorative. Much of her work is inspired by local features, especially the great oaks and old beeches near the converted farm building where she has her workshop.
Spring Fling visitors will see everything from freshly thrown pots through to finished items. They can also admire the wood fired kiln she built herself, and which is fed with locally coppiced timber and old pallets that she splits herself. Hannah says: ‘Electric kilns are brilliant but the magic takes place without your involvement’.
Hannah’s is one of three makers chosen for Tokyo’s Best of British Slipware exhibition. While the slipware tradition is hundreds of years old, Hannah’s work is for today. She uses clay from the fields around her workshop to provide a distinctive orange-coloured decoration for some of her slipware.
Kate Anderson - Mosaics
Kate’s mosaics range from spectacular two-metre screens, and large wall hangings to semi-abstract pieces a few centimetres wide. Kate’s work reflects her fascination with ancient symbolism, and the motifs like moons, ladders and towers, which are infused in many world cultures.
The self-built studio is in the garden behind the former smithy where Kate lives – and she delights in the quiet, rural riverside setting. Visitors will see her at work, making use of a rich variety of materials such as glass, marble, fiberglass and gold leaf. They will be able to chat to her about the pieces she has made, such as the screen telling the story of Jacob’s Ladder for Lichfield Cathedral’s celebrations of the King James Bible’s 400th anniversary.
Alison MacLeod - Jewellery
From antique mother of pearl gaming pieces to little plastic loops from bra straps, Alison delights in incorporating ‘found items’ and cast offs in her more avant-garde jewellery. She also has a beautiful range of delightful contemporary rings, brooches, necklaces and earrings created from gold, silver, precious and semi-precious stones.
During Spring Fling her work will be exhibited in the studio of family friend Patti Lean. An avid fan of junk shops and car boot sales, Alison loves to bring new meaning to old items. For example she enjoys working with couples to incorporate inherited stones into individually designed and hand-made engagement or wedding rings.
Find out more about all the makers taking part and download the free The Spring Fling brochure at www.spring-fling.co.uk/brochure
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