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Stag Trophy Head

several different varieties of naturally coloured willow, 51 x 27 x 28in

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Willow Goat Sculpture

boiled and stripped, stripped and unstripped willow varieties

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Elvis, Highland Shoulder Mount

several different varieties of naturally coloured willow

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Willow Highland Head

boiled and stripped, stripped and unstripped willow varieties, 34 x 24 x 28in


Bob Johnston

Based in Bangor, County Down, Bob Johnston has been creating traditional and contemporary willow baskets, sculptures and living structures since 2000. Initially trained as a textile weaver, Bob has since studied with master basket makers in Armagh, Galway and Villaines les Rochers, France.

His award winning work can be found in the collections of museums, galleries and in the film industry. He takes on private commissions and welcomes you to contact him, with no obligation, to discuss your ideas.

“I create contemporary showpiece willow animal sculptures which are both life-size and realistic.  Each piece is woven by hand and completely unique. The sculptures have evolved from the traditional basket weaving techniques I use to produce mummer¹s masks.  This process begins by personally growing over 40 different varieties of willow to enable me to choose from a large palette of colours and textures.  I carefully select each rod and use a dense, random weave to create form with detail, giving a feeling of movement and injecting a hint of expression.  My sculptural work is innovative in that unlike basketry there is no pattern or formula to follow.  The sculptures are a creation of aesthetic vision and skill in manipulating a basic willow rod into a thing of beauty and form.  My signature is in the detail!  I create instantly recognisable animals which are more than simply an outline.  They encapsulate movement, expression and always have a hint of personality.”


The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
The Ulster American Folk Park
The Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC
The Royal Dublin Society
Buckingham Palace

Selected Awards

Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Rod, Rush and Straw Category Winner
Arts Council General Arts Award
The Golden Fleece Award – Merit Winner
Silver Medal Winner – The Garden Show
Queen Elizabeth Scholarship
National Training Award – Northern Ireland Winner
Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Rod, Rush and Straw Category Winner
Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Rod, Rush and Straw Category Winner


Selected Exhibitions

Curious Beasts,Ulster Museum, Belfast
President’s Ball, National Trust Scotland, Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Handmade in Britain, London, UK
Spacecraft, Belfast
Craft Central, London, UK
Holland and Holland, London, UK
Fortnum and Mason, London, UK
2011 The Goring Hotel, London, UK
The Ark Cultural Centre, Dublin
Spacecraft, Belfast
Roch Exhibition, Ulster Folk Museum (Touring exhibition)
RDS Showgrounds, Dublin, Ireland (Irish Touring exhibition)
European Baskets, Kilkenny, Ireland (European Touring exhibition)
Folklife Festival, Smithsonian, Washington DC, USA
Pinolere 2006, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Armagh County Museum, Armagh, Northern Ireland (UK Touring exhibition)
Catalan Basketmakers’ Fair, Girona, Spain
The Garden Show, King’s Hall, Belfast
The Atrium Office of Public Works, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, Ireland
Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool, England
The Craft Gallery, Florida, USA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA
Craft on the Bay, Cardiff, Wales
Workhouse Museum, Londonderry
National Vlechtmuseum Noordwolde, Netherlands
Callander House, Falkirk, Scotland
West Cork Arts Centre, Cork
Irish Linen Centre, Lisburn, Co. Antrim
National Museum of Country Life, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Draiocht, Dublin
Linenhall Arts Centre, Co. Mayo
Waterford Arts Centre, Waterford
Fermanagh County Museum

Contact Details:

Bob Johnston

T. +44 (0)77 6259 1100