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 sculpture is basket grade brown willow if you want your work to be kept outside, buff willow is fine for indoors and the best place to purchase it is directly from a willow grower.

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 but the traditional method is to use a 50 /50 mix of boiled linseed oil and turpentine for sculptures that are kept outside ( I tend to use the mineral substitute as its less smelly), or a good wood preservative that penetrates the wood rather than just coating the surface You need to let it dry well and recoat the first time around so that it penetrated the willow.  Ideally, this should be done twice a year if it is going to be kept outside, If it is not going outside id stay with a coat of a good preservative.

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 it least 5 years and much longer if its inside, 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 favourites 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 recommend buying directly from a grower to guarantee its quality. Here are some of the larger growers, but there are several smaller growers arround the best thing is to do a web search or go to Basketmakers Association page. 

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

Most willows can be used for the structural parts of sculptures and incorporated with other materials to make hedgerow baskets, garden structures etc as to whether it is suitable for using to make sculptures/ baskets depends how bendy it is when it dries.

The best way to test for using green /fresh is to bend it around your wrist, ideally cut and leave for a few weeks to allow it to start shrinking and is still bendy. The only way to know if is suitable to store and dry is to give it a go, it may take quite a while to resoak e.g 2 days per foot rather than 1 day you may need to change the water if it has a skin formed on the surface and rinse off the willow when you take it out before mellowing.

The best time to cut willow to dry is in the autumn/ winter when the leaves have dropped and the sap has stopped rising

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 bespoke sculptures, private commissions as well as creating my own work,   check out my tab at the top of the page