About Liz Walsh
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"My unique pieces are individually designed, and combine traditional and free weaves. I am inspired by flowers, seeds and other natural forms. In my more classical designs, influenced by my pottery, I play with size and scale, and explore the transformation of functional into non-functional. "
I have a longstanding love of natural history and the environment. Having studied biological sciences to degree level, I was subsequently employed as a research assistant on several ecological projects, living in York, Lancaster and Bristol, before moving to Dorset over 30 years ago.
I enjoy a variety of practical creative activities. An experienced potter, producing a range of thrown stoneware, I have also designed and made sterling silver jewellery as well as explored textiles such as felting, quilting, spinning and weaving.
I repair cane and rush seats and panels in furniture, finding great pleasure in restoring a beautiful item to its original condition and function. After being given a chair with a woven willow seat I was curious to investigate the qualities and possibilities of this natural material. Willow has been used for many purposes over centuries, being versatile and pliable, yet strong and most importantly, totally sustainable. Rods are cut annually from often aged root stocks, and when freshly cut have many beautiful colours.
I attended basketry courses locally and on the Somerset Levels, to learn the traditional weaves and skills needed for this ancient craft. Many baskets later, two exhibitions in Kew gardens of wonderful giant seed pods, fungi and other natural forms by Tom Hare inspired me to venture into more sculptural forms. I subsequently attended workshops with him and other willow artists, and was involved in a local village millennium project workshop with Serena de la Hey, maker of the iconic M5 willow man.
Since then I have explored, experimented and played with different varieties of un-stripped willow, creating free-standing and hanging sculptures for the garden and inside. My unique pieces are individually designed, and combine traditional and free weaves. I am inspired by flowers, seeds and other natural forms. In my more classical designs, influenced by my pottery, I play with size and scale, and explore the transformation of functional into non-functional. All outdoor sculptures are treated with raw linseed oil to give some protection from weathering, although being organic material, they are intended to mature naturally with the elements.
I regularly exhibit my work both privately and by invitation in Dorset and the South West.