Art Enhancing Life – Health- Programme5

Emma Reynard led a five week willow workshop encouraging participants to take inspiration from the work of Alexander Calder in order to create their own willow sculptures. The group began by creating a large collaborative drawing, overlapping their lines with each other. They then created collages to get used to a more physical and tactile medium before they started using the willow. The following week Emma demonstrated how versatile willow could be before getting everyone involved in bending and shaping the stems. No one had worked with willow before so it was an equally new experience for all of the participants.

Over the followings weeks the group made their own willow sculptures with guidance from Emma. Individuals who were more confident created pyramid structures which they covered using tissue paper, others made more simple creations by bending and joining the willow stems. The group included many people from migrant and refugee communities, including those with very little spoken English. Emma engaged with these individuals through translation apps and they worked well with other participants during the collaborative activities.

After constructing and covering their willow sculptures, the participants started to decorate them. Some of the group took inspiration from Alexander Calder’s work whilst other created patterns and drawings from their own imaginations. In the final session they continued to decorate their sculptures with wire, tissue paper, pompoms, and other materials. Some participants also chose to put fairy lights inside to create an effect similar to a paper lantern. At the end of the course the group all took their willow structures home and were very impressed with what they had managed to create.


‘Thank you very much for this session, I have enjoyed it so much. I had fabulous time making willow creations with Emma, it’s been great for my mood’

‘I enjoyed the sessions with Emma making artistic things from willow, like our grandparents used to. At times it was really hard work, but l really enjoyed it and made a lovely sculpture’

‘I have enjoyed creating a structure from willow. It has been inspirational, thank you’

‘Thanks for an enjoyable session, always a pleasure to learn something new and meet new people!’

‘A wonderful and therapeutic experience, thank you’

‘Enjoyed working on the large piece, making patterns and using the colour and different materials’

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