Chelsea School of Art trained; Willow’s artistic career stretches over 60 years. Much of her work is deeply personal, always touching and beautifully observed. Her skill in carving and creating from stone is sometimes expressed through minimalism, as of the Inuit sculptors who she often references as influences, and others where she makes delightful, representative studies of animals, birds and the human figure.
Her work holds a quiet and contemplative beauty, which aims to capture the inner essence of the subject. She has been in featured in several public galleries, touring exhibitions and is held in many private collections. In 2008, she was given a solo retrospective exhibition of her work at Moncrieffe Bray Gallery in recognition of her artistic contribution and individual talent. She is an elected member of the Society of Portrait Sculptors.
Willow has led a full, busy and always creative life, which has taken her from art school in the 1950s, through working and training as an art therapist to later holding a professional career as a portrait sculptor at Tussauds studio in London. Married to the successful artist Ron King, she has also collaborated on several projects for Circle Press, where she has been instrumental in its creative output.
Willow enjoys the atmosphere of a collaborative studio and has always found it stimulating exchanging ideas and working methods but it is in the quiet, solitude of her own studio that she is free to create, pursue and express her own artistic vision. Willow often describes her work as ‘intuitive’, where the meaning of piece will not emerge until it exists.
There are common threads that unite her pieces across the years. Willow’s fascination with babies is evident, their shapes movements, positions and proportions. Connected to this is her interest in wildlife, where she looks for the lines and rhythms of her subjects. Much of the catalyst for her work comes from personal experience and concentrates on the inner, essential character of a subject or feeling. The joy of motherhood, despair and grief are all explored.
It is rare to see such a carefully observed back catalogue of work and to be able to view the sketches and drawings from where ideas are formed. We invite you to take your time to walk around and view the sculptures, indoors and out, pick up a ‘Feely-Baby’ to connect with the materials and see pieces in progress in the working studio. This is a space for the senses, where nature and the human spirit are quietly and profoundly expressed.
Photo credit: Ellen Hancock