Bonnie Gale: Living Willow Sculpture
By Jo Stealey
Our Summer 2010 issue profiles the work of Bonnie Gale. A nationally known willow basket maker, Gale continues to explore her versatile natural materials in innovative ways. Her most recent living willow sculpture, The Living Tree 1 (2010), is composed of sixty five-gallon pots of willow and over 2000 willow rods, about ten feet tall. Each pot contains twenty-five willow rods that surround a bent metal pipe representative of a tree limb. The pots radiate in circles to encompass more than eight feet in diameter. Once the rods bloomed, the trees become an elegant green grove that dwarfed the viewer. “The aim of this living piece,” Gale explains, “is to deconstruct the tree form and provide a different perspective on the nature of living trees.” This installation represents the first piece in Gale’s Living Land Art series.
Bonnie Gale, Living Tree 1 (with detail and installation view at the Central New York Blooms Flower Show, 2010, Syracuse, New York), 2010; sixty five-gallon pots of willows built over bent metal poles, over 2000 willow rods were used; approximately 16' x 8' diameter.
Model for Living Tree 1 Gale made with pipe cleaners, wooden dowels and black paper. The scale is one inch to two feet.
Living Tree 1 work in progress image taken in mid-February 2010 when the potted “limbs” of the tree were grown in greenhouses. The individual limbs were formed over bent metal poles.
Willow Sculpture Gardenfrom Cultivating Life onVimeo.
Gale and her living willow creations were recently featured on the PBS series Cultivating Life in the segment “Willow Sculpture Garden”