All about willow FAQ

Here are some of the questions that I often asked

How do I look after my willow sculpture?

It depends on what you have made your  sculpture from and where you intend to store it, all of the details can be found here

After attending your class I’ve been really inspired to have a go at making  one on my own, can you give me some tips on the different types of willow and  how to  prepare it

What type of willow do you use a variety of different types for my own sculptures and either black maul or Flanders red for my workshops mainly because they have a standard soaking time while the others don’t If you are making a sculpture yourself the willow grower that you buy from will be able to advise you on the best way to prepare it.

Where  do I buy willow to sculpt with?

The best willow to use for a  sculpture that you intend to put outside and to last for a long time is basket grade brown willow, buff willow is fine for indoors, or just being out in the good weather. The best place to purchase it is directly from a willow grower if you can,

It is harvested in the spring and then processed and usually available from Late AprilMay onwards and it isn’t available all year round like any crop once it is gone they need to wait until the next harvest. If they don’t have any left on their website it is always worth checking with them anyway and looking at other growers. If it isn’t available then look for other suppliers as some craft suppliers do stock it but it is more expensive that way.

Do you offer private workshops for small groups of people ? and 1-1 workshops

Yes quite often please visit my bespoke workshop page

How do I preserve my willow sculpture and How long will a willow sculpture last?

It all depends on what type of willow you are using and where it will be kept etc the traditional method is to use a 50 /50 mix of boiled linseed oil and turpentine/mineral substitute or white spirit for sculptures that are kept outside, or a good wood preservative that penetrates the wood rather than just coating the surface.  You need to let it dry well (this may take a few days) then check to see of in any areas need a touch-up, this should be done twice a year if it is going to be kept outside all year round.  If it is not going outside then one coat of a preservative should be enough. 

There are lots of factors to consider regarding how long it will last relating to where it is sited the weather conditions etc the general advice is approximately 5 years and for a very long time longer if it’s inside/ under shelter,  similarily to a willow basket.

Can I use any willow for making sculptures

There are many different strains of willow some are more suitable for use than others, many growers and basket makers have chosen to grow their favorites because of their particular properties and not are suitable for weaving I use basket making qualities willows in my sculptures.

If you have wild /goat willow growing nearby and want to experiment then give it a go as it’s free to use and it’s great to experiment.

Where can I buy basket making willow myself

It depends where you live but Id always recommends buying directly from a grower to guarantee its quality. Here are some of the larger growers based in Somerset, but there are several smaller growers in different parts of they country and you may have one near to where you live, areas like Devon Wales and Scotland have quite a few and there are others which you can find ain a web search also visit the  Basketmakers Association page. 

I have a willow tree growing in my garden/ nearby is it suitable to use?

Most willows can be used  when they are still fresh if they are bendy enough and you can combine them with other hedgerow materials it is good to experiment.

The best time to cut willow is on the spring when the sap has started to rise before it starts being covered in leaves, you can try other times of the year just be mindful of any birds nesting, etc.

Do you work with organisations on long term projects or create  work for events

Yes on occasion, I have a long history of working on art participation projects with organisations as well as working at events, festivals, and multi-agency projects.

I love your sculptures  do you make different items/ exhibit your work

Yes, I create sculptures that I sell, online as well as art exhibitions/ galleries, etc I also create bespoke work to commissions,   check out my tab at the top of the page.