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Thornhill a must-stop stop for Spring Fling

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Thornhill a must-stop stop for Spring Fling

LIFE sized sheep made with bedsprings, hand thrown pottery and colourful textiles are just some of the intriguing artistic treats visitors to the Thornhill area can enjoy during Spring Fling.

This year’s 21st annual contemporary art and crafts weekend, from May 27-29 will see 100 studios – the biggest ever number – open their doors to the public across Dumfries and Galloway.

And Thornhill is at the heart of the Green Route, and has five Spring Fling participants, including blacksmith Nate Robinson whose forge is at The Old School House, and Gyllian Thomson, who creates colourful tapestries inspired by the region’s landscapes.

Nate, who taught himself blacksmithing as a teenager after being invited to have a go during an event, loves to experiment and his creations include sheep with wool made using old bedsprings.

He said: “A friend of mine had some old bedsprings and it occurred to me that they would look great as wool, so I have transformed them into life-sized sheep which people can see when they visit my forge during Spring Fling.

“This year will be the first time I’ve taken part, and it’s great to be here in Thornhill where there’s a whole group of Spring Fling artists and makers nearby.”

Gyllian said: “This is my second Spring Fling and it’s so important to me and my work. One and all come to my studio it’s such a unique experience and I love it.”

A little to the west, in Penpont, is textile artist Deborah Campbell. Her mixed media work uses a variety of techniques to create work inspired by Dumfries and Galloway’s wild coastal areas.

She said: “I’m so looking forward to taking part in Spring Fling this year at the Rooks Gallery in Penpont where I will be exhibiting my new textiles and watercolours. I will also be giving visitors an insight into how I create my hand printed fabrics by demonstrating collagraph and geli printing.”

To the north, at Sanquhar, there is Robyn Cove who makes beautiful hand-thrown functional blue and white pottery – including mugs, dishes and plates – as well as lovely decorative pieces.

There are 11 studios in total on the green route. The others will be jewellery makers Kaz Robertson and Alison Macleod, potter Sam Sparrow, ceramicist Ruth Elizabeth Jones and semi-abstract landscape painter Anne Butler.

Organiser Joanna Jones, said: “The studios along the Green Route show why Spring Fling has grown to become Scotland’s premier open studios weekend.

“It’s not just the variety of artists and makers that make it such an enjoyable event – it’s also the fact that they are such fascinating people, many of the inspired by the natural environment of one of the country’s most beautiful rural regions.”

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