ABOUT JENNY & ISSY
Jenny was born in Worcestershire in the sixties, went on to be a student at Hereford College of Art before moving on to do a degree in woven textiles West Surrey College of Art and Design in Farnham. Whilst composing her thesis on the willow growing and basket making industry in the 1980's she met master willow grower and basket maker David Drew. With an apprenticeship grant from the Crafts Council she was able to spend 12 months with David learning both trades, this was to be the most influential part of her life. From then on she has grown, made and taught all things willow and basket and continues to enjoy her trade today.
Issy grew up in Herefordshire in the nineties in a world full of willow, baskets and lots of wet days in the willow fields, and long holidays playing under tables at craft fairs. After finishing art college hungry to keep trying new things, she chose to do a degree in Theatre Design at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff: a degree that taught her so many skills in designing, making and collaborating on big projects. In 2016 she graduated with a first class honours and Issy beganning dreaming up a way in which her design world could combine with her craft roots. After working on a variety of different festivals, theatre shows and pantomimes in the UK and US, Issy returned home to plant the seed and try and grow a 'willow by design' business with help from her mum.
In 2018, we created a giant sculpture for Boomtown Festival, made our first set of willow lampshades for Pensons restaurant in Herefordshire and we welcomed Orla, Issy's daughter, into our world. These events combined to sew a seed and the concept of Willow with Roots was germinated.
Since than the business has matured, we've established our own willow beds, created an online shop, taken on many bespoke commissions for large scale jobs as well as private clients and we teach throughout the year. As mother and daughter makers we've slowly and delicately growing together.
Jenny has opened up her practice from one where she has been fine tuning her skill for decades, and now incorporates a freer and more sculptural approach. Issy has learnt to slow down, focus on the natural material itself, hone her techniques so she can really begin to back up her big thinking with practiced skill.
We've always got on well and shared creative ideas with passion and enthusiasm. With our two different approaches to willow we hope to break the rules, play with form and push this amazing material to its limits to create unexpected outcomes.
“I am so proud and completely honoured that my daughter should
choose to join me in my craft and constantly celebrate how we
continue to remain intrinsically linked in both life and work.”
Jenny Crisp, M O T H E R.
“I love my mum and can't believe we've got this time to work together. I can hopefully carry on her legacy in basketmaking - willow has always been in my life and now I get to explore it with my own point of view, lampshades, sculptures, pods and all the big ideas! ”
Issy Wilkes, D A U G H T E R.