On warm Sunny October day Period Living Magazine came along to Victoria's workshop barn to create an article for their Feb 2015 Edition. The Artisan Feature is a regular article featuring an Artist or Crafts Person who works from a home studio. Victoria had a great day with Rachel Crow (editor) and Jeremy Phillips (photographer) who took over 650 photos of her weaving welding and walking!
The article is titled, The Way of the Weave - Complementing the natural environment in which they sit, the garden willow sculptures handcrafted by artist Victoria Westaway range from whimsical figures to abstract forms.
Victoria Westaway is wrapped up against the cold in her workshop, a small 19th-century stone barn next to her former farmworker’s cottage, perched on the crest of a hill. With far-reaching views to Hay Bluff and the Black mountains to the west, and the Malvern Hills to the east, this beautiful spot in Herefordshire, ‘an isolated garret on the hill,’ as Victoria quips, is open to the full force of the elements. When the wind whistles through some of her figurative willow sculptures dotted around the garden, it is as if it is breathing life into their inanimate forms. Inside the barn, a menagerie of willow birdlife surrounds her, peeking out from behind benches or perched on ledges: owls, hens, geese, as well as wire dragonflies. ‘They are wonderfully tactile pieces. It does help if you can get a feel for the work, and the willow takes on a lovely patina as it ages,’ Victoria explains, as she teases, twists and knots pre-soaked and malleable withies (willow stems) onto the embryonic form of an owl. ‘I enjoy making pieces that work in the environment and the natural world,’ she adds.
Words rachel crow Photographs jeremy phillips
Willow Artist Victoria Westaway bringing in the willow stook. seen in the Artisan Feature, Period Living Magazine Feb 2015 Edition - Words Rachel Crow, Photographs Jeremy Phillips
Ledbury Artist Victoria Westaway outside her rustic barn studio on Coombe Hill overlooking Coddington. Photo taken for the Artisan Feauture, Period Living Magazine Feb 2015 Edition, Words Rachel Crow, Photographs Jeremy Phillips
Ledbury Artist Victoria Westaway demonstrated her welding skills for the Artisan Feauture, Period Living Magazine Feb 2015 Edition - Words Rachel Crow, Photographs Jeremy Phillips
Victoria seen her in front of her log burner weaving a willow goose, photo taken by Jeremy Phillips, interviewed by Rachel Crow for the Artisan Feature, Period Living Magazine Feb 2015 Edition
The weavers hands. Here Victoria demonstrated some detail during the willow weaving process during the Period Living Magazine, Artisan Feature interview - Photographs Jeremy Phillips, Words Rachel Crow
Willow Artist & Wire Sculptor Victoria Westaway photographed by Jeremy Phillips, interviewed by Rachel Crow for the Artisan Feature in the Period Living Magazine Feb 2015 Edition
Having graduated as a theatre design student in 1999, Victoria first used this flexible and lightweight material when making puppets and fantastical costumes for various theatre companies. ‘I learned the basic willow-weaving techniques from puppet makers I worked alongside, and subsequently I’ve taught myself other basket-making skills,’ she says..