Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bathgate retirement home.

Towards the end of September we were invited up to Bathgate near Edinburgh to create a woven screen in a retirement home together with the Global Action Plan (A charity that promotes sustainable living) and their sponsor at present Sky television.
They gave us a cavalry of enthusiastic volunteers which meant that over four days we whittled and weaved together a fabulous screen from willow, hazel and sweet chestnut. They were unstoppable!
We camped out of the town up on the hill, Beecraigs country park.
With the solstice wind blowing hard, Spencer (my willow weaving colleague) and I took the trail to Cairnpapple a very old burial mound that in deep darkness has to be experienced. It's the original earth works.

Such a warm crew, big thanks to Tom, Anne and David, all at Sky and me old mate Spencer Jenkins, who on the return journey took responsibility for all the driving so I could rest my bones in time for a weekend teaching at Spring woods!
Thanks all.

Wisley's glass house echoed in Willow.

Over the summer the education team at Wisley have been developing a 'natural' play area for their younger visitors designed with creative investigative play in mind.
I was asked to contribute to this area so got to work designing and building some play structures that echo their breathtaking glass house.
And here they are from rough sketches to fully installed, foundations dug and fixings tightened.

Thanks to Art Fabrications for their skill and consistent support with the steel works.

Rough sketches.

A willow den.

The willow tunnel.

The twist in the tail!

Some close-knit weave to help withstand the kids attention..

Working the willow - Part 1

As part of the Somerset arts week in early September this year, Musgroves the wonderful willow growers pulled together a collection of international willow work. From the very solid functional vessels to the more contemporary, sculptural and experimental pieces weavers came together for 'Working the willow'. All of which drew from a wealth of makers who at some stage have purchased their quality materials from Mike and Ellen Musgrove (I reckon over 150 makers contributed!).

The variety of colour, technique and beauty was overwhelming, some of my personal favorites were that of artist/maker Sarah Webb, coiled work, bound with jewelry wire which was very precise and flowing. Joe hogans work also really stood out for me as well, a stunning 'closed pod' worked onto ash-wood, showing both disciplined and anatomical traits. Also, Lizzie Fareys wall hanging of wagtail sketches really captured my imagination .

Alongside the exhibition I ran two 1 day workshops sharing some of my techniques which proved to be popular, the sun shone the willow was very local and clients were spotted leaving with arms full of their own creations.

There will be more dates coming soon for sculptural workshops 2010, watch this space!

Of course my work had to be fork-lifted into place, proving that Big can be beautiful too!
My Hanging Nest seat is constructed from tightly woven steamed willows around a mild steel frame.

Herrick Primary School revisited

One year on from completing the first stage of this project I was asked to add some important features to the Amphitheatre:
60 metres of gorgeous sturdy green oak seating for the audience
And for the performers a clean dry platform/stage area made from recycled rubber matting, the area is tough enough to be stood on, trod on, danced and skipped on without carving into the mud! In time the grass will grow through to help blend with the natural surroundings.

Thanks going out to Peter wood for his help on this project.