Meet our Visiting Artist Alison Walling
Please introduce yourself
I’m Alison Walling and I live in the City of Lincoln where I’m lucky to have a large enough garden and shed for creating my work and growing a small heritage collection of local willow varieties.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Although I went to Art College from school, I worked for many years with people with disabilities, often working with artists on a variety of projects. I also trained long-term unemployed people in Art and Design where I gained my City and Guilds Trainers Certificate. Twenty years ago I retrained in Garden Design and Horticulture, but was not happy sat indoors behind a drawing board. Volunteering with the Tree Council led me to research working with willow and I was awarded a bursary to work with a basketmaker. This unlocked the wonderful world of willow for me and I didn’t look back!
Tell us about your work and where you find your inspiration
Now I teach all over the County of Lincolnshire, I grow about half and acre of my own willow, around 40 varieties and I work to commission creating a wide range of willow sculptures. My smallest creations are probably little woodpeckers and the largest would be a 4 metre high Lincoln Imp and I recently made an elephant for St. Barnabas Hospice. Although I would love to be a skilled basketmaker, I think my fondness for the natural world and animals is reflected in my work, I do enjoy creating new creatures. I also deliver talks to groups about willow, it’s history and place in Lincolnshire.
What do your workshops involve?
Many of my workshops are suitable for beginners and I teach a range of subjects, birds, baskets, Christmas wreaths etc. Willow can be tough on your hands and joints despite it’s suppleness, but it’s no worse than gardening. Weaving takes time though, so my courses are always a full day.
How can people contact you or find out more about your work?
There is more information about me and my work on my website and I also have a Facebook page, Lincoln Willow, where you will see more of my work and get news of courses on offer.
Alison will be running 2 courses at Unique Cottage Studios before Christmas:
Willow Rib/Frame Basket
Saturday 21th October, 10am - 4pm
This traditional, small round basket with a handle would have been made by farm workers and travellers from hedgerow materials. Simple techniques to make a very useful little basket. Suitable for beginners, all tools and materials provided.
Willow Christmas Wreaths
Saturday 18th November, 10am - 4pm £48
Learn to make circular and heart shaped wreaths in the morning then decorate them in the afternoon or make stars or more wreaths. Bring along your own greenery or decorations. Suitable for beginners, all tools and materials provided.
To book a place please contact Alison: Call 01522 262973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org