Geoff’s works with willow grown at his home in South West Scotland and from specialist growers Musgrove Willows in Somerset. The willow is harvested in the dormant season between November and the following March, then left to dry for at least two months before being re-soaked ready for working. The key to good woven work is grading and sorting the material so that the quality is consistent, that is where the real skill lies.
Trained in traditional basket making and more recently by those pushing the boundaries of the craft, Geoff has moved toward a more dynamic style of work. This can be seen in the ‘Plenty’ and hazel/driftwood baskets along with leaf and boat forms which have appeared in recent exhibitions. Having had several commissions for figurative sculptures such as ‘Edge’ he is currently working on developing this area. ‘I discovered I needed steel armatures to hang the willow on, it is interesting flexing steel rods after the natural curve of willow’.
During the dormant season attention turns to living willow, either for school and community groups or projects such as Auchinstarry Marina on the Forth and Clyde Canal, where in 2011 he installed several live willow structures and sculptures.
With a background in Occupational Therapy and Outdoor Education teaching has always been an important element. Geoff runs courses in all aspects of willow work and is happy to teach individuals or larger groups.