A STEEL dinosaur, seven-metre fork and ceramic doughnuts are among the attractions as doors are thrown open for the Spring Fling.

There will be 100 studios across Dumfries and Galloway opening their doors from Saturday, May 27 to Monday, May 29 – in the region’s biggest Spring Fling yet.

This year marks the 21st edition of the annual offering of contemporary visual art and craft events, with exhibitions set to take place across the region, from Portpatrick to Sanquhar and Dumfries to Eskdalemuir.

Between 2003 and 2018, the cultural event brought more than £8.5 million to the local economy and attracted more than 100,000 visitors.

It gives visitors the chance to meet with local painters, jewellery-makers, woodworkers and textile artists.

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One of this year’s first-time artists is 27-year-old Nate Robinson, who grew up in the area and combined his self-taught blacksmithing expertise with a childhood passion for dinosaurs.

Measuring over seven metres in height and weighing 240kg, Robinson’s steel allosaurus is on display at the Spring Fling.

Robinson said: “I wanted to come up with a project to show potential customers the sort of work I could do, and I thought something big and impressive like a dinosaur would be perfect.

“I’d loved Walking With Dinosaurs on TV and remembered the allosaurus, so I made that.”

Also taking part in the fling is ceramicist Frances Ross, who is based south of Wigtown and creates colourful doughnut-like pieces.

She added: “People always say they look good enough to eat.”

With the aim of increasing inclusivity, the event will strive to be family-friendly, with some studios offering activities for children.

To encourage sustainable travel, the organisers of the Spring Fling have compiled a list of bike routes through the beautiful countryside. Additionally, visitors can book an exclusive walking tour in order to explore the art history of Scotland’s Artists’ Town.

Recognised by Unesco as a world-class biosphere, Galloway and Southern Ayrshire has a focus on promoting sustainable business practices and climate resilience.

Many artists participating in the Spring Fling have gained inspiration from Scotland’s natural landscapes and are exhibiting creations which express its beauty and fragility.

Joanna Jones, the assistant director of Upland CIC, which organises the Spring Fling, said: “It’s a great opportunity to explore one of Scotland’s most beautiful regions, meet some of its most creative people and see the remarkable places where they produce such an incredible range of contemporary visual art and craft.”

For more information on the Spring Fling, visit: https://www.spring-fling.co.uk/