The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Spring Fling 2023 Begins

Of course, with a busy, intense day ahead it was inevitable I would be awake 2 hours earlier than I needed to be.

I tried all the usual tricks to get back to sleep, but after half an hour I had to get up – my brain just wouldn't shut up.

Spring Fling – the annual open studios event has arrived.

Considering it is only 3 days long, it seems to dominate the 3 months running up to it.

Would we have enough new work to show visitors?

Could we create an environment that would be conducive to encouraging people to buy or commission our work?

How do we let enough people know about it without borderline spamming and just getting everyone annoyed?

Like last year, Maggie and I are sharing a space – a converted outbuilding just outside Castle Douglas – kindly lent to us by friends Carolyn and Ken.

As we sit here, an hour or so before we head down there to open up for visitors, the doubts and fears multiply exponentially – each one demanding to be heard, prioritised and dealt with.

But what if no one comes?

What if we spend 3 days just twiddling our thumbs – rejected. There are 100 artists and makers taking part this year – surely most of them will be visited more than us, and by people with disposable income...

Truth is, I have no idea how many people we can expect.

We are out of town, off a wee back road, so we will not get as many as most.

In 2019 – pre-pandemic – I received nearly 200 visitors over the 3 days, and I was in this space on my own.

Last year, Maggie joined me in the space so I was expecting at least double the number, but in fact we only had 150.

We assume the primary reasons for this were:

1. The pandemic was still pretty fresh in everyone's heads and some people were still reluctant to go to places where there would be other people. This was not paranoia, as we all ended up catching Covid when someone visiting the studios decided to gift it to us.

2. The traditional last weekend of May slot was moved to the first weekend of June to tie in with the Queen's 70th Jubilee celebrations. Unfortunately 10,000 other events also decided to tie in with it, so there was massive competition for everyone's attention.

This year there is no Jubilee, Spring Fling is back in May, and the Pandemic is no longer at the forefront of everyone's mind.

Maggie has some of the most amazing work she has ever created, on the walls for people to see – and buy if they wish.

Meg has been doing some home-baking, creating incredibly mouthwatering scrumptious gluten-free delights, to help raise money for Castle Douglas Food Bank.

And I've been getting really cinematic with my photography style - and have new work to show that I feel is among the best imagery I have ever created.

I'm also going to be doing photography demonstrations throughout the weekend, showing people how to overcome their fears in front of the camera, and how a few subtle adjustments to expression and posture can make anyone far more photogenic.

If anyone turns up that is...

If you are in this corner of Scotland anytime from 27th to 29th May, do pop in and say hi.

Studio 44 and 45 on the Pink Route, about a mile and a half outside of Castle Douglas.


neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

One more day to go…I hope with all my heart it’s gone well for the 3 of you!

I can’t wait to hear.

Kim Ayres said...

Many thanks Neena :)

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