Joe Gregory is a willow sculptor and basket maker based in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
She has now been weaving for 15 years, turning her hobby/obsession into a very rewarding career.
About her work she says ‘I’ve been weaving with Willow for about 15 years, initially as something physical and creative to help me get over a long illness. I quickly became quite obsessed, a wonderful natural material to work with, always forgiving and so very strong. I love in my sculptural pieces how the Willow moves and weaves like muscles and sinew through the body. And I love the contrast of sculpture to basketry, from free flowing forms to rigid patterns and back again. I look to the future and the possibilities are endless………..’
Developing her craft alongside her work as a Forest School leader and Permaculture teacher Joe took the plunge in 2014 and rented a small high street shop in her home town. From these humble beginnings her business Creative with Nature has blossomed and willow has become the main activity of the business, teaching people from across the UK, commissions and increasingly willow products for the home and garden.
With the help of local volunteers Joe now grows over 4000 trees locally for her business and as Creative with Nature develops she has recently bought one of the oldest buildings on Todmorden high street, a large, locally much loved Georgian building with 3 large floors to grow the business into.
Creative with Nature is currently the only Willow weaving shop on the English high street and Joe is using her skills and determination to bring weaving and other traditional crafts back from the brink of extinction and back into peoples everyday lives.
As well as her popular willow sculpture and basketry courses, Joe also hosts weaving courses from some of the best weavers in the UK and holds regular courses with other crafts professionals in Leather work, Mosaic and Stained Glass.