Wonderful Willow

This time last year The Sill was about to host Weaving Across Borders, an exhibition of exquisite willow craft items curated by the Northumbria Basketry Group.

Visitors to the exhibition were most impressed by the way in which expert craftspeople had used this sustainable material to produce beautiful, and in many cases useful, items. Somuch so that we have worked with these expert makers to let people have a go at willow craft themselves.

A group of people holding up dragonflies made with willow

Other willow workshops have seen groups making Christmas wreaths that can be used again each year; obelisks for climbing garden plants and bird feeders complete with fat balls!

Angel sculptures made from willow

We are so impressed with the properties of willow that we planted up an area at The Sill with willow last March. Not only will this give us a crop to use in our workshops but it will provide a new habitat for bees and insects and help sort out a particularly wet patch near our overflow car park.

A row of wicker baskets

I’m looking forward to visiting the Sill next week to see how our new willow area has grown and to reinstate our Willow Animal Trail now that the animal sculptures have been spruced up by their creator, Anna Turnbull of Biteabout Arts.

A running hare scuplture made from willow

I’m also very excited about a new willow fence for our Learning Garden that Tyne Valley based willow worker Ruth Thompson of Sylvan Skills  has created. Here’s a taster of what to expect, the curlew that features in the fence. I’ll explain the full story of our unique fence in my next blog.

A curlew being made from willow