TWO dozen new exhibitors, many inspired by the wildlife and beautiful landscapes of the Borders, will be taking part in this year’s McInroy & Wood Borders Art Fair (BAF).

The event – described by participants as “Scotland’s friendliest art fair” – takes place from March 17 to 19 at the Borders Events Centre, Kelso.

BAF is the biggest event of its kind in the region and is a chance to see work ranging from landscape, wildlife and portrait painting through to animal sculptures, botanical castings, ceramics and stone carvings being shown by more than 70 artists, makers and galleries.

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Eleven of the first time exhibitors are Borders-based and include original printmaker and painter Emma Jones and mixed media illustrator and artist Sara Rhys.

Border Telegraph: McInroy & Wood Borders Art Fair Photo Colin Hattersley.

Emma, previously from Edinburgh but now living in Chirnside, began her career as a web designer but has increasingly focused on her original printmaking and painting.

As a keen runner (often in the company of Eva her Labrador-spaniel cross) and a wild swimmer she is very much inspired by a sense of connection with the natural world.

She said: “We take a lot from nature but often feel we are not part of it. Something you realise in a beautiful part of the world like the Borders, when you are running through the woods or swimming in the sea, is that you are as much a part of nature as the trees and the oceans themselves.”

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Emma, who does much of her work at Allanbank Arts near Duns, will also be doing a demonstration during BAF.

She said: “It’s the biggest event of its kind in the area and has a great mix of artists. I’d led a workshop there in 2020 just before everything shut down due to COVID but had never exhibited – this year I decided that I really should.”

Sara, from Duns, will not only be exhibiting but will also decorating the conference centre windows.

She said: “I will be showing a selection of small sketches from a project I’m developing, depicting the 70 birds currently registered as critically endangered in the UK and some paintings.

“Visitors might also encounter me drawing on the windows as they enter the fair.

“I’m a narrative artist, and I’m most inspired by telling stories and communicating ideas. My work is generally rooted in nature, and often has a touch of the absurd, rather like me.

Border Telegraph: McInroy & Wood Borders Art Fair Photo Colin Hattersley.

“I like to get out into the Borders landscape to draw. I walk a lot - either alone or with friends like Clover the English Bull Terrier - and am often thinking of stories or practicing my birdsong identification at the same time.

“It’s my first time exhibiting at BAF and I’m primarily there to meet with others in the local creative community, I work alone so value opportunities for connection. It’s wonderful to have BAF on my doorstep.”

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Frances Fergusson, Director of the Borders Art Fair, is delighted by the number of new exhibitors wanting to take part.

She said: “There’s a real enthusiasm amongst artists and galleries to be part of the event and its tremendous that we have 24 new artists, with 11 from the Borders and 13 from beyond.

Border Telegraph: McInroy & Wood Borders Art Fair Photo Colin Hattersley.

“It really shows how BAF’s reputation is growing all across Scotland and the rest of the UK. We always love to offer visitors the chance to see fresh work and meet new artists as well as the opportunity to see long-time favourites who take part year after year.”

BAF is a family-friendly event and will feature a great food and drink area, plus the chance to create your own masterpiece at the new pop up print studio.

For details of all the exhibitors see