Category Archives: Community

The Story of The Tusk Arch

We were asked by Great Yarmouth Arts Festival to make an archway spanning the path leading up to The Minster in Great Yarmouth. The arch design was to be inspired by two crossing mammoth tusks.

After some planning and preparation we arrived on site very early on Thursday morning (June 4th 2015) and began to lay out the tusk outlines using willow. Much of the willow we used was grown at Potter Heigham and donated to us by the Broads Authority.

marking out

The frameworks started to take shape


Once the frameworks were in place we covered them in curved woven willow


People came along and helped out, some for just a while, others for many hours


Once covered with woven willow we moved the tusks onto the path

carrying the tusks

and fixed them together

fixing together

We strengthened the structure using giant bamboo

preparing to hoist

And lifted the arch into place


Everyone involved feels very pleased with the final archway

rainy arch

looking up

It took us nearly 12 hours, and was hugely enjoyed by all involved.

The archway took centre stage in the Festival’s opening ceremony, where the Mayor cut a ribbon willow to mark the start of the festival.

ribbon cutting

Maritime Effect

We’ve been working with a group of young women in Great Yarmouth as part of an arts/heritage project called Maritime Effect. This involves the group learning about local history through engaging in practical crafts that have a heritage link. Yesterday we introduced willow working to the group.

GFS1At the beginning of the session the young women were unsure about this activity, but once they began working they thoroughly enjoyed the session. Bringing their own creative ideas they experimented with adding paint to their tension trays.

painted tray

And one participant decided to move on from her first tray to make something slightly more complex.


At the end of the session, one of the young women said ‘I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy this – but I did!’. The whole group are now excited about learning some more basketry techniques next week.

New Beginnings!

This blog will track the progress of Withy Arts projects, with photos of art pieces produced, opportunities to see participants’ work when it is exhibited and the stories that come out of this work.

We will begin our first project in April 2015 and are very much looking forward to working with participant groups and seeing the art emerge. We have all sorts of willow, textile and nature-crafts ready and waiting for sessions to begin.

It’s going to be an exciting and creative year!

Sarah and Clare