The threads that bind the arts together are closely tied.

In some cases they all mesh together into one rich tapestry. The artists who run Visual Arts Scotland (VAS) know more about this phenomenon than most because this 91-year-old Scottish arts society has long been associated with fine art, as well as applied arts, and has been a consistent champion for both disciplines.

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Unfortunately, craft can sometimes come across as frumpy, and artist Robbie Bushe, in his first year as president of VAS, acknowledges this dilemma. That's why he is throwing down the gauntlet and formally declaring this year's annual VAS open exhibition a "frump-free zone".

"We are aiming to be more Grayson than crafty," Bushe smiles, referring to the veneration with which Turner Prize-winning potter Grayson Perry is held by his peers in the art world.

"The question we are asking in this exhibition is, 'How do people make now in the digital age?' We are starting up a conversation and we want to make VAS the destination for this kind of work."

Having had a preview of this tightly curated show before it opens to the public, I can confirm it is frump-free. It features gorgeous new tapestry work which references the austerity riots in Greece and incorporates film and glass work into its warp and weft (Alice Kettle), a flock of blue and white porcelain swallows trapped on a board (Simon Ward), an elliptical chair which looks surprisingly comfy (Isabelle Moore) and a Grayson-esque ceramic confection called Pecking Order which sees birds and clam-like creatures vying for supremacy (Penelope Matheson).

There is even a performance installation by Hans Clausen called I Am The Artist, which will change performer every day, not to mention a vast floor-based installation by Edinburgh sculptor Kim W Wilson, made from dozens of bags full of wool grease, bone-oil, peat and bone ash, bovine gelatine and oil-shale waste.

Oh, and there's also some fine art from some of Scotland's finest painters, including Kate Downie, Barbara Rae, Audrey Grant and Joyce Gunn Cairns, to name but a few.

From today until the end of February, you can judge for yourself how VAS has changed. Its title, Visual Arts Scotland: Transforming (VAS:T 2015), puts its foot down and talks out the idea of altering perceptions over what constitutes craft and what is art. Alongside this, with its new website, which launched yesterday (Friday), VAS also rises admirably to the challenge of being an arts society in the digital age.

This year's exhibition takes full advantage of the upper galleries of the RSA building in Edinburgh to champion makers of applied and contemporary arts from open submission, invited artists, recent graduates and the inaugural Cordis Prize for Tapestry.

Over the past few months VAS, the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA) and the Royal Scottish Society of Painters if Watercolour (RSW) have exhibited separately in the National Galleries of Scotland complex on The Mound. This departure from the three-in-one format of the last few years has seen all three societies rise to the challenge of redefining their identity.

"We encouraged open submissions from artists and designers whose work considered and challenged traditional craft and contemporary processes - any size and any medium," explains Bushe. "The number of entries, which were submitted online for the first time, blew us away. We had 1335 works by around 550 artists, designers and makers from across the UK. We selected around 300 works which we felt worked across the boundaries of fine art, design and applied arts to make a distinctive eclectic show with a sense of drama, mischief and vitality."

This year, there are three new elements to the VAS show. The biggest innovation is the Cordis Prize, which has led to ten large tapestries being on display from makers based in Scotland, England, Norway, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Australia. The winner will be awarded £5000, donated by the Cordis Trust, and last night it was announced that Ann Naustdal was the first recipient. The trust has said they will run the prize in 2016 and 2017.

The second VAS innovation for 2015 is an introduction to the work of five artists and makers - Alice Kettle, Rachel Maclean, Andrea Walsh, Jane Hyslop and Kim W Wilson - all leading and committed exponents of their disciplines. Into that mix, should also be added Kettle's two colleagues from Manchester School of Art, Kirsteen Aubrey and Amanda Ravetz, who have worked closely with her to create a poetic and beautiful immersive work featuring tapestry, glasswork and film.

Finally, there's The Next Best Thing, introducing seven recent design graduates from the four major Scottish art schools. The artists are Rosie Kimber, a jeweller from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee; Isla Macer-Law, a jeweller from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA); Theo Shields, a sculptor from ECA; Bethan Stoner, a textile artist from Glasgow School of Art (GSA); Catherine McGruer, a fashion graduate from GSA; Kirsty Humpherson, textiles at GSA; and Cara Walker, a graduate of 3D design from Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen.

In the end, art is all about the threads that bind us all together. You will find many shimmering examples in this fine exhibition.

VAS:T 2015, RSA Building (upper galleries), National Galleries of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh (www.visualartsscotland.org) until February 28