I am drawn to texture, pattern, form, craftsmanship and beauty in the world around me. We all have a unique lens through which we view and make sense of our surroundings; my eyes are always picking out the patterns in things, whether it’s a neatly tiled floor or leaves arranged on a branch. Increasingly I am working with materials directly from the land, valuing the relationship this gives me with my environment and an appreciation of the process from seed to table.

 

My interest in paper and lighting has taken me to Japan where I learnt about traditional lantern making and paper sculpture, as well as finding sources of inspiration and beauty around so many corners and in much of the culture. I have made links with paper makers in India and Nepal, and buy much of my paper from these suppliers who work with rural communities in ways that are sustainable and ecologically sound.

 

I now find myself returning to working with willow, a material I chose for my first sculpture show and a craft I have loved to learn about ever since, both in traditional basketry techniques and as a versatile material for larger structures. I teach basket making as a therapeutic craft at Ruskin Mill College near Stroud, Gloucestershire; a college for students with special educational and behavioral challenges. I love learning about the healing potential of working with natural materials and the power of a craft that can build confidence and even re-map past traumas. 

 

Alongside teaching I take commissions for lighting projects, and now facilitate lampshade-making workshops to the public. I also love to create larger work and have been involved in a project creating carnival art for Shambala festival over the last two years, a riotous display of the very best in fancy-dress creativity that always leads the way in raising awareness of environmental issues. 

Teaching at the 'Joy and Trust' school in Okazaki, Japan, March 2017.

Paper drying in the mountains, Nepal

(photo courtesy of Khadi papers)

© 2016 by Tess Wakeling