The Art of Darkness

The Face in the Woods

March 5th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Face in the WoodsImagine, if you will, hiking through the woods, miles from anyone. You round a corner and there, in a clearing, is this giant gawping face (click for larger). If you are anything like me, your first thought will be that you’ve stumbled onto some secret Wicker Man-esque cult and are about to be messily slaughtered. It’d certainly get your heart rate up.

This is an sculpture made of woven willow in Bradwell Wood in Staffordshire, England. It was built by a group called Willow Arts; you can see additional photos in their portfolio. It’s described as a “tribal mask,” but I prefer to think of it as a Spirit of the Woods. A really pissed-off one.

Weaving willow withies (say that five times fast) is a very old handicraft. If woven when green and then stuck back into the ground, they’ll root and continue to grow. If you’re interested in adding a little sculptural interest to your garden (or making smaller projects like baskets), you can find classes in willow weaving or search for tutorials online. Other bendy materials can be substituted if willow doesn’t grow well in your area.

There are some lovely examples of willow sculptures at Inspiration Green. One of the sculptors they mention, Trevor Leat, also makes willow coffins which would be neat for a green burial.

You could start small, learning to weave simple items, then eventually work your way up to larger, spookier pieces. Two or three of these howly faces dotted around the garden would certainly add…atmosphere.

Posted in Unhallowed Ground | 1 Comment »

One Response

  1. xJane Says:

    Until you told me that this might actually continue to grow (awesome!), I was really interested in seeing it in 12 years, when it’s decayed a bit and had things roosting in it. I’d still like to see it in 12 years, but it may be slightly less terrifying.

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