Biteabout Arts

Tuesday, 24 November 2020 18:06

Borders ITV News Interview

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What a privilege to be asked to exhibit my sculptures at The National Trust’s Priorwood Gardens in Melrose.

They were due to open on 1st April, but as the lockdown went on, it was put on hold and finally opened at the beginning of July, running until the end of October.

With people looking for places to meet outdoors the gardens became a popular venue this year and the exhibition has been a huge success. I sold both the female deer and the horse and I am still working on some commissions it brought. So, I am hugely grateful to John Baxter, the garden’s manager.

The request by Borders ITV News for an interview however brought mixed feelings. What an opportunity, but what a nerve-racking prospect. But Clare McNeill put me at my ease and I think created a fantastic piece…..

15 SEP 2020

Animal willow sculptures on display at Priorwood Garden

Written by John Baxter, Visitor Services Manager

Visitors to Priorwood Garden will notice something different about the garden if they visit before the end of October. Willow sculptures of battling stags, hares, deer, a fox, two swallows and a pony, all created by artist Anna Turnbull, are on display in the woodland garden and orchard.

Anna’s wonderful work is inspired by the rural landscape in which she lives and works – the wildlife, organic forms, rich colours and textures of nature. She grows a variety of willows, using this and other locally grown materials in her work.

Her willow sculptures start with drawings, observations of movement, shapes, forms, the flow of muscles, directions, lines and tensions.

Her willow sculptures start with drawings, observations of movement, shapes, forms, the flow of muscles, directions, lines and tensions.

Her husband Richard constructs a metal skeleton as a starting point for the weaving, to give strength and extend the life of the piece in an outdoor environment.

Anna then weaves the willow in bundles, creating lines which echo the contours of the muscles of the body, gradually building up the sculpture.

Enjoy a visit to Priorwood Garden this autumn and see these stunning sculptures for yourself.

All of Anna’s work is for sale and bespoke pieces can also be commissioned.

I was running a workshop at Gartmore House near Stirling as the lockdown was building. Little did we realise what was in store.

A Tourism Event I was due to attend on 17th March was cancelled at the last minute the night before. A talk and demo to be given to a local group on the Wednesday night was cancelled, a workshop planned for a group the following Saturday was cancelled. And so, it went on. I started panicking about finances as two or three participants in workshops I had planned here at Biteabout Farm for the following few months contacted me and asked for refunds. So, an email was put together offering refunds, but asking those who could, to reschedule at a later date. Thankfully most of them did.

I am a maker of willow sculptures and baskets, as well as a felt maker, but a large part of my income comes from workshops. This has changed. I stocked up my Etsy shop, advertised this on Instagram and Facebook alongside my availability for commissions and slowly things started to trickle in. An exhibition of sculptures due to open at The National Trust’s Priorwood Gardens in Melrose was postponed, but luckily a good customer bought a couple of pieces for their garden.

Our garden, which has been lovingly tended throughout lockdown by my husband, now has obelisks of climbing beans, willow fencing panels to shelter tender vegetables and bird feeders in the trees. All inspired by the orders and commissions for other’s gardens. My big seller on Etsy - small birdfeeders made corn dolly style around fat balls.

But life is not just work. I have a young son, now at home isolated, bored and my job, his home schooling. So, my main focus has become him. I try to see it as a positive – much of my work before was workshops and events at weekends and in holidays – now I get time with him.

However, things are slowly changing. My exhibition in Melrose has just opened and I already have some interest in commissions. My husband can start to create the frames for these. School holidays are coming and my son can see more of his friends. I am planning how I can have small groups attend a workshop here at Biteabout Farm in the Autumn. An event planned for this weekend has gone online. Sales in my Etsy shop continue. Things are looking up again.

The St Cuthbert Exhibition runs from Sunday July 15th until September 14th in St Mary's Church, Wooler.

As part of this exhibition, Durham Cathedral are loaning the Story Telling Felt Cloak for display.

To accompany this I will be giving a talk on Wednesday 18th July at 7.30pm.

Also a workshop on Saturday July 21st.

Many thanks to Susan Burke for this article...

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017 13:21

Article in The Journal

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Really pleased with Saturday's spread...

Monday, 31 July 2017 12:03

Willow Sculpture Trail on Lindisfarne

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The willow sculptures I created with volunteers for the Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership are now all in situ at various locations on the 5 km Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve Nature Trail. Starting at the Window on the Wild with a willow Lapwing you can follow the trail behind the castle towards the coast, then up to the bird hide at the Lough, through the dunes and back down the Straight Lonnen. The willow sculptures include a group of Brent Geese, an Arctic Tern, a creche of Eider Ducks and Ducklings, a group of Swallows, a Short Eared Owl, a Fritillary Butterfly, and a Helleborine Orchid. 

Many thanks to all the enthusiastic and talented volunteers who helped to create them and many thanks also to Andrew Craggs (Senior Manager, Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve) and his team for siting them.

It is 20 months since the completion of my cloak for St Cuthbert. I was invited to the preview of The Treasures of St Cuhtbert Exhibition at Durham Cathedral on Friday and was so excited to see my work on display at last. It is one of four artworks commissioned for the exhibition and they can all be seen up until the end of September, (but possibly longer, that is still to be agreed). The exhibition of the treasures is stunning, and has been worth the wait!

Willow in the Wild Woods by Anna Turnbull

Saturday 1 July - Sunday 27 August

'Discover art in the outdoors. Beautiful rhythmic willow sculptures created by Anna Turnbull hidden throughout the woodland.   

Living in Northumberland, Anna draws on the costal scenery and wildlife around her home for inspiration. In 2008, she started to work with the many varieties of coloured willows grown locally for basketry and the traditional techniques, and started to experiment with the idea of creating willow sculptures. Captivated by the pure organic form, colours and textures of the willows, her passion for creating the unexpected was ignited. 

As visitors walk through the woods they will see a variety of woodland creatures emerging from the trees. A bird swooping upon its prey; a squirrel startled as it scurries up a tree; a pair of red deer engaged in combat.'

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Inspired by the flora and fauna of the National Nature Reserve I have designed a series of sculptures to be created for Lindisfarne's Nature trail. We had the third of our six planned volunteer sessions making the sculptures yesterday

Some talented volunteers have made a fantastic job of helping to create the sculptures so far. Some have been keen to return and do more and enjoyed the opportunity to be involved. They are all proud to think that their work will be on the island and look forward to seeing it when the trail is complete.
 
To date we have a Lapwing and a Short Eared Owl completed. Two female Eiders and eight ducklings are just about finished to complete the creche. Yesterday we started the Helliborine Orchid and the Fritillary Butterfly. There are still some Brent Geese, Swallows and an Artic Tern to be made in the following sessions.
 
My husband Richard has made the metal frameworks, and I have also involved the local blacksmith, Stephen Mather of Holburn Smithy, in the construction and welding of some of the larger frameworks.  
 
If you would like to be involved, then please contact Sarah 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mobile - 07557326797

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Sunday, 12 March 2017 21:44

Beginners and Improvers Basketry Workshops

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I have thoroughly enjoyed the last few basketry workshops at The Cheviot Centre in Wooler.

Here are the group from this last weekend - what a fantastic range of baskets!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 17:40

Scottish Felters Summer School 2017

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I am delighted to have been asked back to teach at the Summer School where there is a packed week of inspiring workshops. Take a look, you might like to join us!

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