I create contemporary showpiece willow animal sculptures which are both lifesize and realistic. Each piece is woven by hand and completely unique.
The sculptures have evolved from the traditional basket weaving techniques I use to produce mummer’s masks. This process begins by personally growing over 40 different varieties of willow to enable me to choose from a large palette of colours and textures.
I carefully select each rod and use a dense, random weave to create form with detail, giving a feeling of movement and injecting a hint of expression. My sculptural work is innovative in that unlike basketry there is no pattern or formula to follow.
The sculptures are a creation of aesthetic vision and skill in manipulating a basic willow rod into a thing of beauty and form. My signature is in the detail!
I create instantly recognisable animals which are more than simply an outline. They encapsulate movement, expression and always have a hint of personality.
Based in Bangor, County Down, Bob Johnston has been creating traditional and contemporary willow baskets, sculptures and living structures since 2000.
Initially trained as a textile weaver, Bob has since studied with master basket makers in Armagh, Galway and Villaines les Rochers, France.
His award winning work can be found in the collections of museums, galleries and in the film industry.