Press Release: New Creative Talent Emerges


Programme allows three young artists and makers to take part in a major event and puts them on the road to successful careers

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Clare Williams and Lisa Rothwell Young during Spring Fling. Photo by Colin Hattersley
Clare Williams and Lisa Rothwell Young during Spring Fling. Photo by Colin Hattersley

Three young artists and makers had the chance to exhibit at a major event thanks to this year’s Spring Fling.

Upland, the organisation which runs Scotland’s premier open studios art and craft event, gave them the opportunity as part of its Emerge programme.

This matches talented young people with mentors with extensive experience in the arts world to help them develop the skills they need in order to lead successful careers.

Clare Williams who works with textiles and surface designs, and is based near Lockerbie, was mentored by Lisa Rothwell-Young, a jeweller who runs The Mustard Gallery in Langholm.

From 28 to 30 May Clare exhibited in the gallery where Spring Fling visitors could see her new range of hats, scarves, wrist warmers and other knitwear.

She said: “It’s been a great experience and people seem to have really liked the new range.

“I’ve really been enjoying working with Lisa and have learned a great deal from her ahead of Spring Fling.”

Lisa helped Clare with issues such as pricing, production costs and presentation – all of which are essential to running a business.

She said: “The weekend has been a huge success, we’ve had lots of visitors in Langholm and in the gallery. That’s tremendous for the town and for letting as many people as possible see Clare’s work.

“Projects like Emerge are really important for making sure that talented young people like Clare can develop the business skills they need after leaving college or university.”

Lisa and her husband Barry Young, a photographer, were both among to 94 specially selected artists and craft makers taking part in this year’s Spring Fling.

Each of the Emerge participants has 15 days of one-to-one mentoring.

One of Upland’s aims is to help emerging artists and craft makers to stay, or return to, the area and enjoy fulfilling careers. This also brings benefits to the wider economy as Dumfries and Galloway continues to build its reputation as a centre of creative excellence.

Morgan Hardie, a Dumfries-based painter who has been mentored by Denise Zygadlo, has also found Emerge very valuable.

She said: “I’ve been introduced by Denise to other portrait painters and have learned a lot from them – the whole thing has really helped to build my confidence as an artist.”

After studying for an HND at Dumfries and Galloway College, Morgan discovered she had a talent for portraiture – drawings and watercolours – and now has her own studio. She is also studying for a degree in psychology, a subject in which Denise also has a close interest.

Other areas of work that mentors are looking at include preparing for exhibitions and getting work into galleries and shops.

Sarah Keast, from Moniaive, who is well known for her printmaking and for her love of the ocean, ships and sea life, is mentoring Emily Nash, from near Newton Stewart, who specialises in drawing, mixed media and printmaking.

The project is made possible by the Holywood Trust, which is supporting two of the young artists and the Archie Sutter Watt Trust which is supporting the third.