As the Willow Grows

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on June 27th, 2018

This week, visiting artist and landscape architect Bonnie Gale and her assistant, Jonna Evans, began working on a willow sculpture in the Woodson Art Museum’s Margaret Woodson Fischer Sculpture Garden. The seven-foot-tall domed structure uses ten-foot-long willow rods harvested in New York and transported to Wausau in an enclosed trailer.


To keep the willow alive, it is placed in a freezer so the plant remains dormant. For the long drive to Wisconsin, the bundles of willow were wrapped in plastic and bags of ice were placed around the willow and wrapped in blankets.

Bonnie has designed and fabricated living willow sculptures for more than fourteen years, creating fifty willow structures throughout the United States. Commenting on her medium and process, she notes,


“It is very challenging to work with a living sculptural material, but there are tremendous rewards with this high energy and interactive work. I am continually being inspired to create new forms and see how far the living willow will cooperate with my ideas.”


Enjoy these images of Bonnie’s work in progress and be sure to visit the sculpture garden this summer and beyond to see how the willow structure transforms and grows.

Bonnie Gale’s living willow sculpture project is supported by a grant from The Dudley Foundation.



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