I am a basket maker working exclusively with locally grown natural materials. I now have to admit that I have become a serious scavenger and opportunist. These are not necessarily the most desirable characteristics one would think an artist should develop, but let me explain.
In the middle of May, early in the morning on my way to work, I was driving down my countryside road and noticed out of the corner of my eye, a large pile of brush illegally dumped on the side of the road. In fact, this brush looked a lot like willow. My opportunist brain kicked in and I made a mental note of the location of this brush with the intent to stop for a closer look on my way home later in the day.
All day long I worried that someone else would notice the willow and I thought there was a chance it might be gone. I hurried home at the end of the day and to my relief, the brush pile was still there. Apparently I worried needlessly as it seems that only I can get excited about a pile of brush. I got out of my car and took a closer look at what I thought was willow and to my absolute disbelief, this was indeed willow. In fact it turned out to be curly willow!. You need to know that curly willow is not just ordinary willow. Curly willow is very curly and twisty and interesting and this pile had all different sizes and I had to have them!!
About an hour later I unloaded a large pile of curly willow at my studio. My scavenger self was very pleased and excited about my great find.
Should I end here or continue……
After gloating and drooling over the willow that was now mine, I started to sort the branches according to diameter and length. I trimmed and discarded any broken branches as I went. Once trimmed up, I started to play with the branches to allow the personality of the sticks inspire me. I made three small wall weavings and then spent the next several days arranging and rearranging the larger willow sticks. I now have a stack of curly willow framework for many wall weavings drying in my studio. Each framework has been wired into a shape that will eventually dry, shrink and harden before I can weave on it. I predict it will be late summer to early fall before the drying is complete. At that time I will revisit the willow and the inspiration process will begin again, allowing me to turn someone’s illegally dumped brush into art.