Windrush Willow
grown home

Grown home

Is the title of an ongoing exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It proposes the growing of functional wooden domestic products out of willow and is the result of four years doctoral research into willow product manufacture. Sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the Royal College of Art, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers. The research was undertaken by Lois Walpole in the Design Products department at the Royal College of Art. Lois Walpole is well known as an innovative designer and manufacturer of baskets that combine natural and recycled materials, her previous works can be seen at

On display at Kew are chairs, tables, coat hangers, laundry baskets, bottle baskets, shelving, wastepaper bins and a wine rack

Although there has been some limited previous work done in the field of growing furniture both in Britain and the USA, the concept behind grown home is different in two important ways; firstly it proposes growing entire objects that are intended to be harvested and taken indoors to use and secondly, it uses quick growing willow rather then slow growing hard woods. Some of the techniques developed by Lois Walpole are unique and are consequently currently undergoing a patent examination. grown home draws attention to issues of sustainability surrounding the manufacture and disposal of many domestic products. It proposes a realistic and exciting alternative for some of them

Grown without the use of pesticides and using only sunshine and water the grown home product provides, primarily, a genuinely sustainable alternative to industrial methods of product manufacturing.

Designed so that they can be harvested and brought indoors to use then mature, grown home products can also be safely dismantled, composted or used as fuel at the end of their useful life without having caused any damage to the environment in their creation or dispoal - unlike most conventional manufacturing processes.

Easy to grow and maintain grown home products are also designed to provide attractive focal and talking points for the garden, patio or balcony. Willows provide interest in the garden all year round having catkins in the spring, abundant greenery in the summer and colourful bark in the winter.

grown home products make a valuable contribution to bio-diversity wherever they are planted but are of particular benefit in the urban environment providing pollen in spring, food and nesting sites for insects and perches for brids. Many of the products can also be used to provide support for annual flowers and vegetables that are planted in the same pot or close by.

grown home product kits have been designed to make it possible for anyone to grow and customise their own domestic products and are being produced exclusively by Windrush Willow in collaboration with Lois Walpole.

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