Tuesday Group wowed by willow

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Serena de Hay

The Tuesday Group held another interesting and fun evening on 20 February with the help of its honoured guest Serena de la Hay, artist extraordinaire, creator of "The Willow Man"!

Thirty eight members and guests were fascinated to learn from Serena how, having attended Falmouth Art College, she had very soon discovered the medium of willow. Although the material was not fashionable at the time, she enjoyed the freedom and fluidity of using it. Aided by many slides, she gave a detailed account of her career, showing the progression of her numerous amazing sculptures over many years, including the 'Burning Man' event in the Nevada Desert, where willow canes could be found just lying around. Although she works mainly with Somerset willow, of which there are many kinds, she will work wherever willow can be found, for example in France and Uruguay. She explained that most of her sculptures have a relatively short life, especially out in the elements. Whoever commissions her work owns it and is therefore responsible for any required maintenance. Serena maintains the Willow Man herself as its owner, and had to rebuild it after vandalism in the early years, though it is more secure now with the help of a moat, which also attracts wildlife.

Serena's story is too vast to mention all she has done but, needless to say, her sculptures take the form of anything from geese, swans, wild boar, to full size figures of running men, even producing a work for Glastonbury Festival, and they are all a feast for the eyes. She also teaches the craft and showed a slide of a Harry Potter dragon she made with children.

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