Withy Stag Sculpture

Withy Stag Sculpture


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This quirky and unique artwork is a lifesize, majestic stag woven from withies by Oxford-based artist designer Marek Balinski. We have placed him (the stag – not Marek) near our entrance, where he looks spectacular against our dark yew hedge.

Constructed on a brazed copper pipe frame, in buff stripped withies, the finished sculpture has been weatherproofed with linseed-based decking oil and the antlers varnished with yacht varnish.

Woven withy sculpture on copper frame

Approx H:2.75m, L:1.8m

Withies are young willow stems or whips, strong and flexible. This is a renewable and sustainable crop harvested from withy beds. Willow art is growing in popularity, and willow artists create naturalistic or abstract forms of sculpture that are attractive and durable.

The artist's technique is fascinating:

To get an idea of scale and position, I start with sketches and then sketch in 3D in bamboo (taped and wired together). Then I transfer the measurements to a soldered copper frame armature, taking into account the weight distribution and volume of withies to create the form, strengthening where needed.

Starting from the hooves, I begin to weave the withy sticks, softened by soaking for some hours in a water bath. Then working all over the form to keep the proportions, it begins to take shape as it dries and hardens, becoming surprisingly strong and light in the process. 

His eyes are made from a heat curing polymer putty and wired in to position.

Although copper has anti-fungal qualities, the sculpture will need to be sprayed every six months with an anti-fungal decking oil to prevent both black spot mildew and the withies becoming too dry and brittle. Satin Yacht varnish the antlers once a year.

Please note this item is only available for in store collection; we are trying our best to arrange a courier service to bring Burford Art Gallery items to you.

Burford Garden Company is acting as an agent on behalf of the artists displaying work in this online gallery. Refunds on works are discretionary and goods must be returned within seven days of purchase, at the latest.