Wild Willow, an exhibition of new sculptural work and indigenous Irish baskets by Joe Hogan, one of Ireland’s foremost basketmakers, illustrates perfectly how nature inspires art.
Sitting boldly on the floor of the gallery are a collection of sculptural pieces where Joe has brought together his breadth of knowledge of traditional basketry with his wealth of skills and experience to create innovative new forms. The natural resources that surround us – wood, larch, birch, bog myrtle twigs, willow twigs and catkins – have become fascinating objects.
On nearby shelves sit smaller baskets where lichened birch reaches upwards in a twisting movement from a circular form as if emerging from a forest cocoon. Occasionally it’s possible to catch the gentle fragrance of the materials, a scent which was stronger when the exhibition first opened, and one which Joe himself is so used to he no longer notices it. These are beautiful objects which capture the wildness of nature and you can imagine them sitting eye-catchingly in a home.
Alongside this exhibition is Tales from the North which brings together six contemporary jewellers using unconventional materials in an unexpected way. The small scale of the jewellery pieces contrast with the baskets and willow forms, while echoing the skilful and imaginative way the materials are considered.
The jewellers – Nel Linssen, Janna Syvänoja, Terhi Tolvanen, Flόra Vági, Millie Behrens and Naomi McIntosh – are from Scotland, Norway, Finland, Hungary and Holland and use materials such as paper, acrylic and pebbles.
A paper brooch in dark blues made from book pages with enamel, silver and steel by Flόra Vági captures the gentle movement of a sea anemone, while Coral Cement, a necklace by Terhi Tolvanen, innovatively combines cement with opal, wood and silver. These are pieces of jewellery around which tales could be told and it is not surprising that the necklace has been bought for the collection at the National Museum of Scotland.
Review by Tina RoseSee & Buy: Wild Willow & Tales from the North
3 – 31 May 2014
The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, EH3 6HZ
Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-4pm