Dumfries and Galloway Spring Fling Festival promises fascinating sound, vision and art


This year’s Spring Fling Festival, which begins on Saturday, promises sound, vision and an abundance of intriguing art with nine days of digital and physical arts and crafts events.

Among more than 60 specially selected artists and designers from Dumfries and Galloway will be ceramicist Ruth Elizabeth Jones, based in Moniaive, and visual artist Emma Varley, from Dumfries.

They have developed a series of collaborative pieces that are striking interactions of digital designs and ceramics, fusing tradition and technology.

During Spring Fling, which runs from May 29 to June 6, visitors to their online studios will be able to see their individual works and collaborations, including Earthlight – their new experience using digital drawings and light projected onto a collection of containers in handcrafted ceramics.

Ceramic works include a moon pot. Inspired by traditional vessels made during the Joseon Dynasty in Korea, the convex shape of the moon pot and the smoke-baked body absorb and reflect the digital design as colored light.

Earthlight, their latest work, will be released as a short on Friday to mark the opening of Spring Fling 2021.

A contrasting work will be The Call, a sound and sculptural installation specially commissioned by Katie Anderson near Annan.

Two performers will move large sculptural speakers and listening devices through the space that encourage playful exploration of the site and our audible landscape, while playing an original contemporary composition created from recordings of people singing the refrain of the Scottish song Ca ‘the Yowes.



Katie Anderson with her sculptural installation, The Call.

The song, which is said to have been taken from a poem by Isabel Pagan of Ayrshire, has been popularized at different times by figures such as Robert Burns and Dougie MacLean.

Katie said: “So many Scottish words sound lovely, so even if someone doesn’t understand what they mean, they’re wonderful to hear.

“In this case, we invited people to record themselves singing the chorus of Ca ‘the Yowes – and we manipulated the recordings so that you couldn’t hear the individual words anymore, but you could feel the beauty of the sound.

“The result is something very naturalistic, with the performers calling and answering each other – something like the song of human birds.”

All participants, which range from painters, potters, photographers and engravers to jewelry, films and glassmakers, will have their own online studio.

Joanna Macaulay, deputy director of Upland who runs Spring Fling, said: “This year’s event combines online and physical events in a way that we hope will be really engaging – with plenty of artwork. intriguing and unusual art presented in imaginative and accessible ways.

“The idea is that while we haven’t been able to organize our usual Open Studio Weekend, there are plenty of ways to engage with art and artists.

“It’s a huge tribute to our artists and creators for finding so many exciting ways to overcome the obstacles created by Covid so that people can enjoy their work.”

Throughout Spring Fling there will be online activities including digital workshops supported by EventScotland.


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