The ancient art of basket weaving is thought to be among the broadest spread crafts at the history of human culture. The procedure involves weaving pliable, natural materials together to create an assortment of useful vessels and forms. Inspired by the craft, a British sculptor known as Anna & the Willow has set a contemporary twist on this timeless technique. She creates incredible nature-inspired sculptures created from English-grown sticks of willow.
Anna first started working with willow ten decades ago when she took a weekend sculpting course.
“Working with an organic material opened up a new world and I consequently went on to find out the different techniques of basketry,” she says. “I enjoy using the skills of basketry and adding my flare to the procedure.”
The talented maker crafts many willow baskets and little gifts, but her remarkable sculptural work showcases the traditional technique at a whole new level. Every large, outdoor piece is planned with hand-drawn sketches before being rendered from bespoke steel frames. Anna then wraps them with layers of interwoven willow rods, showing their remarkable forms.
One 9-foot figurative sculpture, titled The Huntress of Skipton Castle Woods, depicts a girl shooting a bow and arrow. Placed amongst a woodland environment, the impressive piece looks as though it has grown from the forest floor and may come to life to take her arrow at any moment. In other works, Anna has sculpted life-sized creatures, including a stag and a horse, both of whom seem as though they’re surveying their landscape, suspended in time.