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Directory Maker of the Week: Lizzie Farey

Concentus by Lizzie Farey is currently on at The Scottish Gallery 

Our Directory Maker of the Week, Lizzie Farey, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and her favourite part of the making process.

Who or what got you into making?

My mother had a particular influence in my early years.  She was artistic and always encouraged me to paint, draw and make.  I had a career making stained glass windows before I worked in willow.  Then in the early nineties I went to stay with my brother and his family who live on a smallholding on a mountain in North Wales.  My sister-in law, Mandy Coates, makes traditional willow baskets.  I always remember the sweet smell of the willow that she had soaked in an old bath and a beautiful willow cradle she had made for their daughter Rosie.  Mandy is an exceptional teacher and in just a weekend she taught me to make two sturdy baskets.  When I returned to my remote cottage in Galloway I ordered two bolts of willow from the growers in Somerset and I was hooked. Other early influences were Mary Butcher, Joe Hogan and the Japanese artist Hisako Sekijima who made some amazing grass slippers that fascinated me.  It wasn’t long before I was growing my own willow and developing my own style of work using local natural materials.

Could you please tell us a bit about your work?

I make large 2D and 3D pieces out of willow, ash, hazel, heather and other woods. They are either woven or constructed using very fine nails and wire. 

What are your inspirations?

I’ve always loved woods and walking in nature. I grew up in a big, noisy family and one of my favourite ways to find peace and quiet was to venture into the woods near my home. I used to love, and still do, finding secret, quiet, secluded spaces in the woods where I could be myself, safe in the comfort and immensity of that natural environment. I hope I convey some of those feelings in my work. I love the tranquillity and strong connection to nature I get while I’m working. 

What is your favourite part of the making process?

Walking through the willow field looking at all the colours of the different varieties that I grow here in south-west Scotland.  Also lifting a new piece off the floor for the first time and placing it on the wall.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on an exhibition called ‘A Fine Line’ which opens at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre on 18th November for three months. This is a wonderful showcase of four contemporary artists based in Scotland; myself, Angie Lewin, Frances Priest and Bronwen Sleigh. The exhibition explores the boundary between art and craft and although very diverse in our practice, we are all united by our detailed observation and strong draughtsmanship. 

Concentus by Lizzie Farey is currently on at The Scottish Gallery until 30 September

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