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A Christmas Bounty! Willow Workshop

Monday 5 Dec 4pm — Wednesday 7 Dec 4pm, 2022

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

  • £270– single ensuite room
  • £232– sharing an ensuite room
  • £232– single non-ensuite room
  • £185– sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):

  • £175

Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):

  • £165

Get set for Christmas! This two day (plus one evening!) course with willow artist Sophie Courtiour has become a firm-favorite in our festival season. It’s not just an fun opportunity to help you create lots of wonderful things for Christmas; it is also an accessible course for beginners and intermediates to get a taste of the varied techniques needed to create all sorts of willow wonders – this could be the start of a lifelong love of willow craft!

Your main project over course will be to sculpt your very own reindeer, but you’ll also learn to make a variety of other festive willow creations – starts, trees, angels, wreaths, last year we made penguins too! – ideal as gifts or to decorate your own home!

Who’s it For?

Suitable for beginners and intermediate makers. No previous experience necessary, though some manual dexterity is an advantage. Materials are included, and all tools available to borrow for the duration of the course. You should wear layers of warm, non-precious clothing, and / or an apron in the workshop – willow is worked while damp, and it’s also great at snagging delicate clothes – and wear strong shoes to avoid potential injuries from dropped sharp tools!

“I had a brilliant time! My reindeer lives in the house as he’s just so beautiful. Having learned the techniques in the course I went on to make garlands and angels at home as Christmas gifts which everybody loved.” Participant

The Tutor

Sophie Courtiour is a willow sculptor based in Somerset. Given her joint passion for art and the environment, it was inevitable that she would fall under the spell of willow sculpture. A local and sustainable, yet traditional material, Sophie has spent the last decade using willow to create dynamic large-scale pieces. She has completed a number of commissioned sculptures in England and overseas, from private pieces for individuals to public outdoor sculptures and architectural works. Her abstract willow sculptures have been received with critical acclaim, and featured in national publications and gardening magazines, and even on the BBC.

Sophie specialises in living willow projects such as the Leaping Deer near Ilminster and the Beast of the Blackdowns, both of which were created in collaboration with Stefan Jennings. In 2011, the pair completed a ‘Green Cathedral’ as part of the regeneration of Longrun Meadows in Taunton. Measuring 30m by 16m (98ft by 54ft), the ‘Cathedral’ is made from living Somerset willow, and for years now has been used for picnics, performances, yoga classes, and other public gatherings.

In addition to her personal and commissioned pursuits, Sophie enjoys facilitating willow sculpture workshops and demonstrations for aspiring artists and community members. In her spare time, she leads projects for children in schools throughout Somerset, and holds courses for all ages and abilities.