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Completed willow sculpture commission for the Squatter's Cottage at Lightmoor Village

Oak leaf and acorn willow sculpture by Daisy Askins
Oak leaf and acorn willow sculpture at Lightmoor Village Squatters Cottage

This week, my sculpture commission was installed at the Squatter's Cottage at Lightmoor Village. I've been working on the piece over winter, and it was great to see my vision realised on site.

Project background

The Squatters Cottage is a Grade II listed building in Lightmoor Village, Telford. It was built 1794/5 by local workers on unregulated wasteland, and was restored in 2019 by Bournville Village Trust in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust with funding from Veolia. The cottage and surrounding land and woodland is now used for outdoor play groups and social forestry sessions. For more information about the history of the site, read my earlier blog.

In 2023, I was commissioned by Bournville Village Trust to create a willow sculpture at the Squatters Cottage, with funding from Telford and Wrekin Council's Coronation Celebration Fund.

The design of the sculpture was informed by community consultation carried out at the Celebrating Lightmoor Village event a few months ago, where local residents shared their ideas with me - many of which centred around local wildlife.

Community consultation for willow sculpture by Daisy Askins

Community consultation for willow sculpture, featuring willow charcoal drawings by local residents

Sculpture design

I felt an acorn and oak leaf were fitting symbols of how the land has regenerated from its industrial past, and also how the Squatters Cottage - as a site of environmental engagement and therapy run by the Small Woods Association and Shropshire Wildlife Trust - can help support visitors and project participants with their own new beginnings and renewal.

Initial sketch designs for willow sculpture commission at Squatter's Cottage, Lightmoor Village

The outline of the oak leaf is made with Black Maul willow, and is infilled with the olive green hues of Dicky Meadows willow. The top of the acorn is made from Black Maul willow using a basketry weave technique, and the bottom features a dense random weave of Old French willow. I love how the different willows pick up the colours of the stone wall behind. As the sculptures will be kept outside, they will slowly degrade over time and will return to the soil from which they came.

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