Willow

Basketry - Sculpture - Living Willow

Basket making is one of the ancient crafts which seriously declined in popularity with the advent of plastic.  Every village would have had its ‘withy beds’ and one or two basket makers.

Baskets were used for centuries to move goods around especially in horticulture and industry.  Baskets are strong, lightweight and flexible so were ideal for being thrown around in the loading and unloading of goods and keeping the contents inside safe.

I was taught basket making by Sheila Winter in Tewkesbury, Glos in the mid-1970s and was immediately hooked.  I also went on to learn Rush weaving with Sheila the following year, the rush having been collected from the River Avon, north of Tewkesbury.

Below are examples of my work with willow.  With 40 years of experience in basket making,  I have created and sold hundreds of baskets and work with UK willow grown in Somerset, the willow growing capital of UK.  Commissions are undertaken.  

20 years ago I worked alongside Steve Pickup of The Willow Bank and we created many living willow structures throughout the UK and assisted on some of the first courses on ‘Living Willow’ in the UK.  Building structures at organisation including; Ryton Organic Gardens near Coventry, The Bromley by Bow Centre in London, the Bishops Wood Environmental/Sustainable Centre Stourport to name a few and numerous outdoor classrooms for city schools and community projects.

Willow sculpture is something I have developed and have created some stunning big installations for various community and environmental groups/projects as you can see below.  Commissions are undertaken and I also run workshops in willow sculpture.

Baskets

Round flat basket made from brown and steamed willow, approx 14” across and 2” high with border, using the stake and strand technique.  Ideal for bread basket or similar use. 

Frame basket using brown and steamed willow, this technique uses ribs to form the body of the basket and is woven from both ends.

Medium Shopping basket from buff and steamed willow, Stake and strand technique approx 14” diameter and 12” high to top of border.

Log basket made from brown, steamed and Flanders red willow. Commission.

Large Tub basket made for theatre company with only half a floor so the actor could hide inside it and escape through the bottom.

Small Shopper made from brown and steamed willow, approx 12” high to border and 14” diameter of the stake and strand technique.

Gathering basket made with brown and buff willow of the stake and strand technique, approx 10” diameter and 8” high to the border from buff and green willow.  Ideal for blackberry picking or apple gathering.

Log basket from Brown and steamed willow Sold.

Living Willow

By planting live willow and manipulating can be built into arches and fences.  Living Willow Community builds around the UK. All projects are different and can be tailored to your needs, I am happy to advise, design and do costings for your project. Including Arches, Fedges, Tunnels, Amphitheatres, Domes, and Arbours. Please enquire.

Sculpture

The Howling Wolf – Forestry Commission

The 7ft. tall ‘Howling Wolf’ was commissioned in 2006 by the Forestry Commission as part of the Meirionydd Oak Woods Project, to help promote the beautiful Coed-y-Beiddiau Oak woods (Welsh for ‘Wolf’s Wood’), through which the Blaenau Ffestiniog railway cuts, and believed to be the last place that wolves were seen in Wales. It was reached via the footpath which starts near the Tan-y-Bwlch railway station, sadly now gone!

Tree of Life – Age Concern

The ‘Tree of Life’ was commissioned in 2008 for Age Concern’s Gwanwyn Festival (‘Gwanwyn’ meaning ‘Spring time’), held in Spring each year with the aim of encouraging older people to get involved with the arts.

The ‘Tree of Life’ design was inspired by the lovely Gwanwyn Festival logo, and, wanting it to be interactive, I decided to put a seat around it for people to enjoy taking a moment to reflect on their lives. It was sited in Margam Park near Port Talbot for all to enjoy.

Ancient Oak Tree - Woodland trust

Created for The Woodland Trust in 2007 as part of the Ancient Tree Project, launched at the Royal Welsh Show in 2007. The Ancient Oak then went on to tour many festivals and events throughout England and Wales during 2007 / 8, including a week at the Sennedd in Cardiff, the National Eisteddfod and Hay Festival to name a few.

The design was inspired by the desire to create something for people to enjoy that was interactive, and being able to get inside the tree was a great success for children and adults alike.

Willow Stag - Forestry Commission

This larger-than-life-size stag was created for the Meirionydd Oakwoods Habitat Management Project in 2008, to help promote oak woods in Meirionydd.

Blodeuwedd – Woodland Trust

Blodeuwedd, also known as the Ninefold Goddess of the Western Isles of Paradise, was a Goddess like no other in the manner of her birth.  She is one of the main figures in the Mabinogion, the Welsh cycle of stories of the early Celtic Goddesses and Gods. 

Commissioned for a Story-Telling Festival in Maentwrog woods, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, in June 2008

Dancing Lady – Private Commission

She is a beautiful, graceful dancing lady sculpture, created as a private commission in 2008.

National Trust

Top Left Image: Cornucopia made for Powys Castle for their table centerpiece Christmas decoration within the Castle.

Top Right and Bottom Image: Willow Balls and Arch and Panels for ‘A Plant in Time’ National Trust. Devon 2010

Cornucopia – Powys Castle

Theatr na nÓg

Is a theatre company from Neath, South Wales, who produced and toured the Native American story of Gluscabi to schools around Wales in 2910, I produced most of the scenery for this production to include 12 large woven willow panels depicting rolling hills and mountains and a large willow tree with detachable branches so it could be transported from venue to venue and trap doors and for the actors to burst out from inside the tree.