I went down to Dumfriesshire to check out this year’s Spring Fling a great annual arts festival where artist’s open up their studios over the bank holiday weekend. I only had the Saturday to visit along with fellow artist Moira Buchanan so had a fairly broad range of artists to see from Auldgirth down to New Abbey.
The first artist was Denise Zylgadlo near Auldgirth, an area I know really well as I was brought up just round the corner so it was fun seeing the area again. Denise has a beautiful studio converted from a barn (housemartins flying around making the most of such a good day) ideal to see her work based on photocopying close up of her body – part performance, part photography.
Then it was down to Auchencairn to see Trevor Leat’s beautiful willow sculptures. He also shared a studio with Jennie Ashmore who made very intricate pictures from pressed flowers and leaves, she also decorated part of the walls as well (see above) She really took the practice of flower pressing to levels I’ve never really seen I enjoyed her feeling for colour and pattern.
Over to Kelton, near Castle Douglas to see the ceramicists Fitch & McAndrew. While there popped into see Hazel Campbell’s paintings. She works mainly in watercolour but uses it in a very expressive way with gouache, crayons and inks that really making the colours zing with a real joy in the medium with the act of mark making as well as appreciation of the landscape she lives in. Felt it was really inspiring and has made me rethink how I work with watercolour especially with allowing supposedly contradictory materials to crossover.
Also fun to see Fitch & McAndrew’s ceramics again, I’ve visited them a few times at previous Spring Flings so it was great to hear they’re newly married. Such a fan of their slipware ceramics so was good to see their new work.
Then it was over to New Abbey to see Moira’s friend Laura Hudson Mackay a photographer who lives in a stunning border tower house (really a castle). Her work has a real feeling of journey with a careful balanced sense of composition that somehow lets her views of life and spirituality to come through. This was a view through her studio doors with her Scottish Terrier Knick Knack in the shadows.
And lastly a sign I saw in New Abbey “By Hammer and Hand All Arts do Stand” an old Blacksmith’s motto. A good ending for an inspiring day.