Basket Making with Vivienne Turner
Working with a natural material is invigorating and challenging. Each basket and Sculpture created by drawing on a wealth of experience and knowledge gained over 18 years. Willow is my main medium but I also use Rush, Straw, hazel, Ash, Chestnut and birch and incorporate metal in some of my sculptures.
Traditional basketry is at the forefront of my work and most of my baskets have evolved from these historic and customary beginnings. Discovering the many types of designs which have been used over the years, from gathering vegetables and fruit to trapping sea crustaceans.
I achieved a 2 year City & Guilds certificate in Basketry. This qualification covered various mediums and techniques including coiling as practiced by the African nations using grasses and leaves, Twining which is reflective in the Maoris’ native costumes which incorporate feathers and straw work which is part of our own heritage. Level 4 City & Guilds teaching qualification to enable me to teach for Devon County and South Hams District Councils.
I have developed many ideas with willow and recycled materials to form sculptures which have been part of the Teignmouth Art Trail. They were collaborative pieces and I was working with students from Brixham Adult and Community Learning. For several years I worked for Devon Artists in Schools teaching children how to create willow sculptures. We made a variety of forms from David and Goliath to Harvest Spiders and Ladybirds. It is extremely rewarding working with children they have limited boundaries with imagination and happily weave freely.
I regularly teach Adult Educational Classes at Totnes. They are beginners courses and range from simple fruit baskets to Christmas Decorations and Plant Supports.
Many of my students over the years have developed good skills and techniques and now form a private group of improvers which I teach once a month. We develop ideas and hone skills, very often studying European styles of basketry.
In recent years my sculptures have been at the NEC in Birmingham. Both basket and sculpture work has been at the Chelsea Flower Show with two different exhibitors. Collaborative pieces have been displayed at Warrington Shopping Center and the Eden Project. One of my most recent pieces stands in the grounds of Tuckenhay Mill, a willow lady depicting one of the workers around 1880.
BSW -Basket Makers South West and BA