Artists hail fair return at Kelso this weekend

Elegant sculpted horses and colourful lips made using pages from Vogue plumped up with recycled jeans – just some of the fantastic and fun creations at this weekend’s Borders Art Fair (BAF).

By Kevin Janiak
Monday, 21st March 2022, 10:51 am
Updated Monday, 21st March 2022, 10:51 am
Among the more than 70 individual artists and makers, galleries, studios and collectives taking part in the Borders Arts Fair will be Greenlaw sculptor Frippy Jameson, with some of her renowned horses sculptures, depicting the noble animal when they are at rest. Photo: Colin Hattersley.
Among the more than 70 individual artists and makers, galleries, studios and collectives taking part in the Borders Arts Fair will be Greenlaw sculptor Frippy Jameson, with some of her renowned horses sculptures, depicting the noble animal when they are at rest. Photo: Colin Hattersley.

The fair’s return after being forced to cancel due to Covid-19 marks a welcome revival of a weekend event that has a growing reputation, attracting some of the most vibrant contemporary art and artists from the region and – increasingly – from far beyond.

Among the more than 70 individual artists and makers, galleries, studios and collectives taking part in the event at the Borders Event Centre, Kelso from March 25-27, will be Greenlaw sculptor Frippy Jameson and Edinburgh mixed-media artist Wendy Helliwell.

Frippy is renowned for her horses, which she likes to depict when they are at rest. She also creates beautiful sculptures modelled by her own children and will be taking one figurative piece, Cheviot Boy and Wings, to BAF.

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Mixed-media artist Wendy Helliwell with one of her colourful lips artworks, made using pages from Vogue plumped up with recycled jeans. Photo: Colin Hattersley.

Frippy said: “I love horses, and where many artists show them in motion, I try to capture the moments of stillness and calm – those times where you see their fragility as well as their strength.

“BAF is a brilliant chance to meet artists from all across the Borders and it is attracting a growing web of artists from all over the country. I particularly enjoy exhibiting there because it gives me the chance to exhibit some of my more conceptual work.”

This year, her exhibits will include golden and white plaster horses, and she is also presenting one of BAF’s online artists’ talks, which can be seen via its website.

For Wendy Helliwell, BAF will be the first in-person event she has been able to take part in since the start of the pandemic – the last one was BAF 2020.

Wendy’s work reflects her love of fashion and her commitment to recycling and avoiding waste. Among her most striking pieces are sculptures from old shoes and dramatic 3D Vogue Lips.

She said: “I’ve always loved fashion and glossy fashion magazines, not necessarily to fuel my shopping needs but to give me ideas of how I can use or tweak my existing wardrobe. And like many artists I’m a hoarder with a fear of throwing anything out in case I regret it."

“It all came together when I ran out of canvas, which I used as the basis for my Vogue Lips, and found some old jeans and used them instead.

“I’ve never looked back – since then I decided my old clothes would be ‘lipfill’ rather than ending up as landfill like so many unwanted clothes do. And after that I started using old shoes for sculptures.

“It’s also made me a lot more mindful of waste and has made me think twice before I buy anything new – where was it made, will it last, and do I really need it?

“I am not going to save the world by recycling my old clothes into art but if we all do a little it will make a huge difference overall.”

A hallmark of Wendy’s work is that she always keeps a nod to the previous life of the materials, often leaving zips, belt-loops and pockets visible within the body of the work.

This year’s BAF will also feature a Spotlight Area guest curated by the Society of Scottish Artists which will feature work by four invited members Ade Adesina, Hetty Haxworth, Michelle Bianco and Mary Morrison, as well as other SSA Artists.

There will also be a “festival-style” mini indoor food village where visitors can enjoy everything from coffee and cakes to pizzas and crepes.

Frances Fergusson, BAF Director, said: “It’s been a long time but we are back at last and looking forward to building on BAF’s reputation as a showcase for an amazing array of art and craft.

“People are really looking forward to coming together again, some for the first time since the Covid lockdowns, to enjoy an event that’s lots of fun and has a friendly, vibrant buzz.”

For the full line-up of exhibitors, details of the talks and further information about BAF, click here.