Spring Fling is an art and craft open studios event, held annually in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
94 artists and makers selected by arts industry professionals showcase their work.
I visited the WASPS Studios at 117 High Street, Kirkcudbright, DG6 4JG
Of particular interest to me were the works of:-
Morag Macpherson Textiles, this artist and designer creates limited editions of digitally printed fabrics, made into scarves and cushions; and one-of-a-kind patchworked kimonos, skirts, throws and wall hangings. Fabrics used are silks, wool, linens and cottons.
Process:- “Morag Macpherson Textiles creates surface pattern inspired by art movements in history, urban and natural forms and different cultures. The research process and ideas behind the designs are an important part of the process and it is fundamental to the final result that these visual creations stand on their own before being applied to a surface. These usually bold and colourful designs are digitally applied to natural linens, crisp cottons, pure silks, fine wools and most recently, wallpapers.”
Morag’s colourful pieces have strikingly unique and clashing patterns, linked in each garment by the chosen colour palette. I see from her personal statement, that she has a background in graphic design and has studied ‘Design for Printing’ and I felt that this was evident in her work. She had used a professional photographer, Kim Ayres, to make high quality images of her finished designs, which project a young, arty, decadent image. Some of the photos can be seen here.
Her work interests me because I can see the potential for designs to be printed on fabrics and used to make other items: clothing, soft furnishings, accessories etc. A great way to make maximum use (and financial return) from each original design. The combination and patchworking of different original patterns is a modern take on a traditional craft. Research:- companies printing designs onto fabric; software required for digital designs. Consider using professionally-taken photos of finished pieces.
Rosie was exhibiting a wide range of items for sale, including:- prints, cards, bags made from her fabric designs, mugs printed with her designs etc. She also uses this as her workspace. Rosie states on her website that she loves “…designing colourful compositions based on the beauty in natures imperfections. After graduating as a textile designer from DJCAD [Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee] I was fortunate to have many textile opportunities that allowed me to develop my degree work further. As an intern at Harlequin I created floral works with my quirky abstract style and got a great insight into how a successful textiles company operates.”
Quote from Colour Rosie: About Page
The artist has a variety of styles inspired by colour in nature: abstract pieces, collages, illustrative artworks, florals etc. I admired her simple, colourful designs and patterns with pretty colour palettes. The artist has tried out different products to find out which ones sell best, and also includes reproductions of her work on fabrics and in prints. As with Morag’s work, this diversification of products using reproductions of her original designs is appealing. Combinations of sketchbook images can be combined to make an overall pattern for fabric production. Great examples of her mood boards are shown on her website.
The third artist that we visited was Heather M Nisbet, whose studio can be found at:- The Fox Hole, Kirkcudbright, DG6 4XD
Heather works in a variety of media (oils, acrylics, watercolours) and paints villages, boats and landscapes inspired by local scenery, and that of the Scottish Islands.
Heather’s process, which she had on display, and describes on her website:-
“Using on location sketches supplemented by photographs, I work up paintings in my studio, employing a variety of techniques and media, including oil, acrylic, watercolour and charcoal.”
“Other work, including figures and portraits, are sometimes based on life, sometimes on snippets from photographs and otherwise from my imagination.”
Quotes from Heather M Nisbet Art
I was very interested in Heather’s process, which involved making preparatory sketches and taking reference photographs. The sketches were on smaller pieces of paper, rather than in a bound sketchbook. Heather had framed selections of the preparatory drawings (examples shown in my photos of her studio below). These images were ‘collaged’ into a pleasing composition, before being enlarged to the size of the canvas using a grid system, and then painted. We are now the proud owners of BA 465 – a painting of boats in a harbour.
Thinking of my own work, I have used a similar enlarging technique to get small drawings to a suitable size to become paintings. I often use the enlarging capabilities of my printer if I am making template pieces for a textile work. The method for composing an imaginary scene based on a variety of original source materials is one I will try out.
In summary, it was very interesting to see these thriving artists and get an insight into their process. I learned that it is important to maximise the reach of a design by producing diverse products at a variety of price points using manufactured processes, such as fabric printing. Combining a variety of images, from sketches and photos, into a new, decorative, imagined composition was inspiring.