My garden has seen some transformations over the years and the addition in the summer was the most exciting. We added more plants and I painted the back wall black to make it 'disappear'
Whilst I love the view of the garden from our kitchen, we never get to see the view from the garden back to the house, we don’t have a bench or seating area out there and I didn’t want some bulk standard park bench plopped centrally at the end.
I had seen something similar on social media that inspired me so after some lengthy investigative work I found a willow artist Tom O’Hare known as @sticksnapper on Instagram
I send him a brief with dimensions, drawings and a render to cover all my bases. I wanted it to look like a giant birds nest with a hole in the front. He came back to me with a proposal and we went from there. I was specific about the aperture height from the ground and that a base was then flush with that level.
It was made in two sections of steel to get it through the doorway and hallway and then attached together in the garden.
Some of the willow weaving had been done but 70% of it was completed on site over 4 hours. Wonderful to watch.
Tom made an oak base so we had something raised to sit on. It’s a sphere with the bottom 10% cut off so it can’t roll away! We can move the nest around the garden if we wish but it sits nicely in the corner that you see when you enter the kitchen.
The aperture was key to feeling enclosed whilst allowing access. When sitting inside it, you can’t be seen from above (neighbor's) and the view you get is a circular image like the start of a James Bond film…
The light dabbles in beautifully creating a sense of calm and being in the woods.
The willow is very malleable enabling circular shapes to be woven into the steel frame and weathers well so whilst we’ve been given an approx. 5 years or so before it may need addressing, we’re keeping a tarpaulin over it in the winter months and overnight to help protect it.
What I love most about it is the sense of calm it creates when you’re in it. I wanted a place to sit and read, meditate, have a glass of wine with my husband.. it does all that and is also somewhere for the kids to gather for pizza, sit with the rabbits, watch a movie and ‘camp’
I spoke to Tom about collaborating but this was a unique one off piece and he prefers to approach each project individually. During the project we chatted about his work and he asked if I had ever seen the large mushrooms at Kew Gardens. I have a photo of my children under those so that made me feel strangely connected to him and that this was meant to be!
This piece is somewhere between furniture and sculpture and creates the focal point in the garden we lacked.
I would love to work with Tom again and we’ve discussed a willow workshop at my Sussex house. He did one recently with Jamie Oliver and those fruit sculptures can be seen on Jamie’s feed.
If anyone is interested please let me know