Ruthin Craft Centre, Wales
Flanders Red willow
For my work, ‘Inundation’, I wanted to create an immersive experience that spoke about both the material (willow) and the experience of making. The installation ‘pours’ from the gallery skylights to create a work that feels like it is consuming the gallery space. The title ‘Inundation’ also refers to the personal sense of creative inundation when an artist finds his or her own language with their chosen materials. For this reason, the work is very raw and deliberately exposes the thousands of hand-tied knots and curls of willow that make up the massive scale of the work.
In addition, I wished to make a quiet and abstract acknowledgement of recent flooding in the UK. Since the severe floods in Somerset in the early months of 2014 the willow I have received has carried pale, muddy residues, left from the receding waterline of the flood in which the willow stood. This fascinating, faint trace on each willow stem (which is easily removed during the soaking process) gave me vivid images of the thousands of willow stems standing stoutly in the floodwater, waiting quietly for the threatening water levels to drop. Throughout the whole period of flooding and amid all the anxiety and alarm, the willow was standing, still and quiet; I can imagine how cloudy and cold the water was, how immensely crushed the ground below must have been, how the daylight would be mirrored brilliantly between the willow stems. Within the installation, I created a ‘waterline’ to quietly acknowledge the memory of these floods both in Somerset where the willow stood and also in Ruthin, which too has witnessed recent flooding.