Some of the most striking living sculptures are those of Somerset-based artist Kim Creswell. As well as being a fine sculptor, Kim also renovates beautiful traditional caravans but it is her willow sculptures that interest me the most.
Willow sculptures can take many forms and can be living or “non-growing” as befits their purpose. The non-growing creations enable the artist to include finer detail that can survive the test of time whilst the living variety take on their own form over time. Kim uses the natural materials from the Dorset hedgerow and cuts her own willow from the nearby Somerset levels for use in her projects.
Her work has received recognition in publications including The Green Parent, The Sunday Times Magazine, The English Garden and Garden Life. The eight acres that she has made her home has been likened to an eco-haven after she fought for the right to put up three yurts and devote her life to self-sufficiency. Her rural roots lie in Surrey, an area which she says was devastated by the M25 as it became more of a stockbroker belt than a traditional village community.
Her quest for a less consumerist lifestyle eventually led her to Dorset and her love affair with willow began quite by chance. She built a tent out of willow and covered it with a tarpaulin and it was not until she removed the cover that she realised that it had actually taken root. This inspired her to create a whole range of animal sculptures that could live and grow in the natural environment. It was some time before she could afford the land she now owns but the yurts have enabled her to move closer to her dream of a self-sustained lifestyle, spending her time on things she enjoys without any detriment to the countryside around her.
Solar power is used to provide electricity and the entire site is off the grid. She grows much of her own food and keeps livestock including goats. Kim is now able to plant her own withybeds to grow a variety of different types of willow. She manages the whole project carefully to ensure that she only takes what she needs from the local environment.
Her largest sculptures have been commissioned and she also creates a wide range of items including hedgerow baskets and smaller sculptors to cater for all tastes. She also runs willow weaving classes, rural craft workshops and special fun days. All of the workshops are for natural crafts that do not rely on the use of fossil fuels and are appropriate to the surrounding area. If you would like to know more about Kim’s work you can visit her site at http://www.kimcreswell.co.uk.