Withy, Osier

Withy:  new, flexible shoots of the willow tree. Also called osier.


Managing the growth of willow trees in order to harvest withies for weaving baskets and hurdles for horticulture and agriculture and for other useful things is a craft millenia old.



Loop de Loop

created in March 2019 by Patrick Dougherty and staff of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.


  Willow sticks and withies of purple and Miyabe willow were used.  The structure was expected to last for two years and it has lasted for two years and two months so far. 

Patrick Dougherty, American born 1945.








Touch, 1987, tied red osier sticks

John McQueen, American born 1943. Smithsonian American Art Museum from whose website this photo.


 The museum notes:

‘…the artist used different colors of willow twigs to suggest skin, arteries, and veins, as if the tree were mutating into a human being.

‘The artist often includes words in his objects to complicate what we see. In this piece, the word ​touch” appears in the protrusions near the top, emphasizing both the tactile quality of the basket and the physical effort of the artist as he built it….’





willow pods woven and installed by Patrick Dougherty at the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery, Washington DC, for their re-opening after renovation in the autumn of 2015.


Patrick Dougherty, American born 1945.



I had the sensation of an invasion with this work; not unlike that of the fungi which occasionally grow in the corner of my basement kitchen.

A reminder that the natural world is all-enveloping and would overrun, entangle, trap and absorb us but for our agressive interventions.













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