being with willow.
Growing up in rural Somerset has fostered a curiosity and interest in the natural world that has been an enduring feature in my work.
My current practice has evolved out of spending a period of intensive work in my own garden that included working with willow, whilst exploring ways to develop my practice. This initially involved making drawings that might be worked into paintings, but this interest in Willow has evolved so that the growing and nurturing of my living willow sculptures has become integral to my work. In some respects the Willow has become mentor as well as model- a kind of collaboration with nature. Curiosity has fuelled my intuitive and experimental approach which has led me to explore the material properties of Willow too.
I have drawn inspiration from a broad range of contemporary artists, which include Ellen Gallagher, John Newling, David Nash, Tania Kovats and Eva Hesse. This has led to my adoption of a conceptual approach to work where through working with Willow I am able to reflect on my relationship with the natural world.
Working with living material brings with it a direct physical connection to the natural flux’s of nature and concepts like Time, Change and Uncertainty. These ideas could be related to wider worldly concerns and the increasing environmental challenges we face.
I have come to consider there are different phases to my work- a time of presence- when the willow comes to life in spring through to autumn, and –a time of absence- when the leaves drop in autumn through the winter.
My current works have evolved through the discovery that the process- pyrolysis- required to transform Willow to Charcoal requires heat in the absence of oxygen. This connection with absence has made it my chosen media with which to explore- a time of absence. The charcoal I have used in these works I have made myself.