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Springing and flinging for art weekend

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By Fiona Reid
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Springing and flinging for art weekend

FROM kimonos to photos, creativity is blossoming for the 21st annual Spring Fling.

The full programme for this year’s event has now been unveiled and includes pop-up demos, bus and walking tours, bike routes, experimental art, galleries and more.

Participants will be able to commission a kimono, purchase a portrait, admire artworks and meet makers, all while discovering Dumfries and Galloway.

One hundred studios are taking part in the Spring Fling weekend, including illustrators, glassmakers, blacksmiths and painters, but in the lead up to the event, artists and makers will also be popping up at farmers’ markets across the region demonstrating their work.

Then there’s CREATE, a new initiative for experimental artists to create site-specific works or installations.

Event organisers Upland hope this will give a platform to less traditional work that doesn’t necessarily fit into the traditional studio setting

Joanna Jones, Upland assistant director, said: “Dumfries and Galloway is home to an extraordinary creative community. This year’s 21st Spring Fling will be an ideal opportunity to meet artists and makers of every kind and perhaps even commission something entirely unique for yourself or a loved one.

“There will be a huge amount to see and do, with 100 studios opening their doors, plus the chance to see fresh experimental art, enjoy pop-up demonstrations or tour some of the studios by bike or bus.”

Among this year’s Spring Fling participants are textile artist Morag Macpherson from Kirkcudbright, known internationally for her remarkable hand-made kimono robes, and Kim Ayres a narrative and portrait photographer based in Castle Douglas, with a love for theatrical and cinematic visual storytelling.

The two recently teamed up for a photo session at the region’s historic Broughton House in which locally-based artist Ewan McClure modelled a kimono specially commissioned by a Whithorn couple for their son in Switzerland.

Morag said: “Spring Fling is a great chance to meet people and show them what I do. That includes working with clients to create something uniquely special for them.

“This latest kimono is a great example of that. It was a lovely commission, reusing a dress which belonged to the lady’s mother that had been tailored in Barcelona 70 years ago from Hong Kong silk, and patchworking it together with my own silk fabrics.

“It’s lovely to take an item that has strong emotional associations for people but is no longer wearable and give it new life, so it continues to be cherished and used in another form.”

Kim added: “Collaborating with makers and artists like Morag to create interesting photos is so much fun.

“Across this Spring Fling weekend, I will be doing demonstrations on how to become more photogenic in front of the camera. Many people hate having their photo taken, feeling the image shows them in their worst light rather than their best. “And yet there are a few things you can learn – from the angle of the body to the tilt of the head – that can make a significant difference. I’ll be showing you techniques so you never need to be worried about the camera again.”

Meanwhile, Morag is also collaborating with international artist Tellas, from Sardinia, on a residency produced by Upland at Ottersburn Gallery, Dumfries, in late April.

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