The Willow Woman’s Journey Continues

We asked CASSANDRA LISHMAN (whom we’ve featured in the past) for an update on her work with willow. Many thanks to her for sending the following:

Back in 1995 as a student of environmental science, I first came to Wales on a field trip to Aberystwyth. We studied the littoral flora and fauna, visited CAT, and learned of the natural environment in Wales.

I totally fell in love with the landscape, the culture, the people. Coming from Connecticut in New England, I found the land felt familiar, with woodland, beaches and freshwater rivers in abundance.

I and my husband and three young children moved to Wales permanently in 2006. My children attended local Welsh schools, and I began to develop my willow weaving into a sustainable business.

I had already begun weaving willow structures before moving here, mainly creating living domes for friends’ children to play in. I then took a weekend course in willow sculpture at the West Wales Wildlife Centre in Cilgerran, learning from Michelle Cain, and my love of willow sculpture was born. I developed my sculptures, making dogs, dragons and birds, and began selling in local galleries and at events. I was part of several exhibitions in venues such as Rhos-y-Gilwen.

Around the same time I began to learn how to make baskets. I studied with various international tutors, including Mary Butcher in England, Jo Hogan in Ireland, and Hilary Burns from Devon. I also studied with Helen Campbell from Pembrokeshire, and Les Llewelyn in Bridgend. I learned traditional Wesh baskets such as the Cyntell, the Welsh Tea things basket, and the coracle too.

With my two teens and my husband, I recently moved from the Lammas Ecovillage in Glandwr in Pembrokeshire, where I lived for 12 years, to Marros, by the beautiful south coast of Carmarthenshire.

I continue to grow and harvest my own willow coppice, producing a large amount of rainbow willow which I use on my courses.

I teach basketry through Learning Pembrokeshire, I also teach willow sculpture privately. I am also employed by Arts Council Wales where I am a creative practitioner, teaching maths through the medium of willow. As an artist on the register of Arts Care Gofal Celf, I also deliver community workshops for people with mental health problems and disabilities, and to the wider community. Recently, as part of Arts Care’s work, I dressed as an elf and helped make 81 willow stars with people of all ages in Merlin’s Walk in Carmarthen in just three hours as part of the Switching on the Christmas lights event!

If you join my mailing list on www.cassandralishman.net you will hear of my sculpture workshops first. I also sell my products on Etsy as OneWildPlanet if you would like to buy a locally grown and created gift.

 

 

In the spring I will be running Leaping Hare sculpture workshops, as well as continuing my basketry through Learning Pembrokeshire.

Some of Cassandra’s students and their bees

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for pembrokeshire.online, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says "Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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