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It’s back! North Fife artists’ studios open to all this weekend

Open Studios North Fife chair Jenni Gudgeon will be at her Dunshalt studio, where she will demonstrate her unique technique of etching images onto photographs.
Open Studios North Fife chair Jenni Gudgeon will be at her Dunshalt studio, where she will demonstrate her unique technique of etching images onto photographs.

Artists across the northern half of Fife welcome back visitors to their workspaces this weekend as their yearly open studios event returns to its regular May bank holiday berth for the first time in three years.

Following its 2020 virtual programme and last year’s postponement to October, Open Studios North Fife is at last back as a three-day event, from Saturday to Monday.

Painters, sculptors, ceramicists and jewellers are among  makers setting up displays of recent work, ranging from internationally respected names to enthusiastic hobbyists.

Spread across the kingdom

They are spread across a swathe of the kingdom from Tayport to Leslie and St Andrews to Newburgh.

This year also sees an open day at Forgan Arts Centre’s new premises in Newport.

OSNF’s chair Jenni Gudgeon is especially pleased to invite art lovers to the village of Dunshalt, where she will demonstrate her unique technique that involves etching images onto photographs, inspired by local traditions and fairy tales.

Jenni Gudgeon at work in her studio in Dunshalt.

She says, “After 17 years, Open Studios North Fife is very much part of the cultural tradition of arts events in Fife and it’s also such a perfect time of the year for people to come and visit our artists in this beautiful part of Scotland.”

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, OSNF has continued to recruit new members, among them Donna Vincent, for many years a music teacher in Newport.

She is the winner of the Open Studios’ annual bursary, donated by the Rotary Club of the Howe of Fife, to encourage first-time entrants.

‘Boats, bridges and beaches’

From handcrafting puppets and masks for local performances, Donna has progressed to painting in acrylics, inspired by her Tayside location, or as she puts it, “boats, bridges and beaches”.

Visit Donna Vincent’s studio during Open Studios North Fife 2022.

“I feel very supported by the team at Open Studios and have had much encouragement from their members,” she continues.

“As a self-taught artist, winning the bursary has given me a bit more confidence to move forward and promote my work. I am very grateful.”

Simple Pleasures by Donna Vincent. The artist says it is one of her favourite works.

Also debuting this year is Peat Inn resident Ralph Sprot.

Already an established artist as a member of the PrintRoom Dundee collective, the retired builder and developer has also exhibited at Pittenweem Festival.

Yet with work ranging from etchings and screenprints to portraits and abstract pieces, he is keen to display more of his creations, he explains.

“It seems like a good arrangement because all of my work will be here rather than just the odd picture or two going into group exhibitions,” he says.

“I have quite a good sized studio that can accommodate my larger abstract works, which are up to 1.5m square. There is a lot to look at and explore.”

Work by artist Ralph Sprot will be on show in his studio during Open Studios North Fife 2022.

This weekend also provides the first opportunity for the public to explore the new premises of Forgan Arts Centre at Leng Home on Kirk Road, featuring studios and two acres of grounds that include a glasshouse in a “fragile” state, its director Jennifer White admits.

Fife-based charity Sunshine Kitchen, meanwhile, will be on hand to provide baked goods and other light refreshments.

Welcome to explore

“We are keen for visitors to explore the building and gardens,” Jennifer adds.

“The building brims with charm, from the arts and crafts influence in the interior design to the glasshouse, not to mention the garden and allotments leading on to a woodland walk and our views over to the River Tay.”

Classes and workshops have been running for the past fortnight, but much work remains to be accomplished.

Ideas welcome

The centre seeks views from local people on how they would like the centre to progress, in terms of facilities, activities and events, or expanding the programme.

“Having only just opened its doors, the building is very much as we found it,” Jennifer says.

“This is an opportunity to see the building in its rawest form. Thus far we have refrained from making any material changes, apart some light repairs. The renovation and design plans are still in an embryonic stage and we’d like to ensure our community can feed into this.”

Open Studios North Fife runs from April 30 to May 2, more details at openstudiosfife.co.uk

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