Living Willow Farm
Willow’s potential as an element of the built environment relies on a rethinking of commonplace traditional wicker techniques. Used around the world for millennia, woven wicker has served humans as baskets, backpacks, hats, chairs, tables, screens, beds and countless other objects. The US wicker scene is very traditional, rich with heritage and know how but devoid of much experimentation or utilization outside of patio furniture. An unassuming farmer in central Ohio is connecting others to willow and its possibilities at Living Willow Farm. A sculptor from Brooklyn drawn to the area’s rich clay soil, Howard Peller soon stopped making bowls from the earth and began making baskets from the willow grown in the earth, taking only what he helped nurture to maturity. Living willow walls are totally underutilized in the built environment but are proven to be effective by examples all over Living Willow Farm. And harvested willow is underutilized as interior partition screens and acoustic dampening ceilings. Although willow and wicker will never have as profound an impact on architecture as it likely had before industrialization, it certainly should be more common than it is.