Alison Fitzgerald

Alison Fitzgerald studied botany before moving to Ireland in 1980. Her first home in Ireland was in the grounds of the Horticultural Research Station in Loughgall, Co. Armagh, where willow was being grown experimentally for biomass. Impressed by the beauty of the willow beds, she was inspired to try weaving baskets. After returning to England for a short course (none were available locally in Ireland at that time) she met local basket makers near Lough Neagh where once there had been a thriving basket making industry. This gave her insight into special styles of baskets woven in that area, particularly frame baskets. In 1985 she rented a workshop in Armagh and started a small business weaving baskets and teaching classes as well as training individuals. She has been invited to exhibit, teach and give demonstrations both in the UK and internationally.

'My abstract wall designs reveal the natural qualities of willow - lightness, strength, flowing movement, pliability and subtle bark colours. The eye can flow around gentle curves tied by very fine willow twigs or the fine tips of longer rods. They are about lines and spaces, balance and movement; reflections of my love of music and of walking beside rivers. I enjoy the whole process of basket weaving, including growing and harvesting the willow. It is very peaceful and relaxing to sit using just your hands and a few simple tools creating something useful and beautiful out of a bundle of twigs.' - Alison Fitzgerald

Public collection include: National Museum of Scotland, Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, National Museum of Ireland, Museum of Country Life, Turlough Park, Co. Mayo

Alison Fitzgerald's work will feature in a group willow exhibition, Celtic Connections, in November 2020.

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