Brond hand crafted a stag out of stripped willow using traditional wicker making techniques.
Our aim was to create an authentic creature that forms a powerful and inspiring iconic sculpture. The willow was deliberately woven to create shapes that capture the bold anatomy of the red deer stag.
The stripped wicker was supplied by Somerset Willow Growers Ltd who grow willow in the heart of the Somerset Levels. The Somerset Levels is a coastal plain and wetland area, running south from the Mendips to the Blackdown Hills, that has some of the best willow growing conditions in the world.
The stripped buff willow arrived in large bundles that were 5 feet long. The willow was soaked in cold water for 5 days before it became flexible enough to work with.
Cole Smith had never worked with willow before. He had the idea during the second lockdown, thinking that it was the perfect time to explore a new craft.
The red deer is the largest land animal in the UK. They stand over 1.2m to the shoulder. The stag has large antlers. The species was extinct across much of England, Wales and lowland Scotland by the late 1700s owing to deforestation and human disturbance. The red deer live on moorland and mountainsides, as well as grasslands near to woodland.
A red deer stag is a majestic beast to observe if you ever get the chance.
To preserve the wicker sculpture the willow is sprayed with natural turpentine and linseed oil to give the stag natural finish.
Antique crafting tools were used including snipe nosed pliers, pincers and nippers. These tools are a joy to use for this type of craft.