Along the path to the Relax & Heal world of the Floriade Exposition is an opening leading into the woods. We almost missed it, we almost didn’t walk down the path. Since childhood you worry that in the dark and scary places of life you might not make it back. Something scary could be out there. It could be “Willowman” waiting for you! Will Beckers of Belgium, is Floriade’s Willowman, his card describes him as a Land Art Artist. His medium is natural materials, primarily willow saplings that grow like wild in the wet forest. Clearing the small trees from the congested forests provide the material for Willowman’s creations.
He weaves, bends, and layers the willow into sculptures large enough for people to walk around inside. In addition to his large spaceship like creations, he has created a hammock, rabbit cage, aviaries, chicken coop, privy, kitchen, and fanciful fences.
Willowman is inspired to “help children feel more involved with nature.” He provides a table filled with grasses, cones, fronds and reeds for kids to create their version of a “wishmaker.” When complete they may write their 3 wishes on a piece of wood and tie it onto his sculptures. The children’s creations add colorful decorations to the larger exhibition. They leave feeling powerful and creative as they contribute to this magical place.
The willow sculptures create living space for Will to go about his daily life during the 6 month exposition. As such inside one of his largest sculptures six chickens scratch about and lay eggs. He has a camp stove and dining table set upside another sculpture.
He has a canary and a diamond dove aviary.
Work to create these sculptures took several months, he lived here during that time leaving only twice when the weather turned too cold to be able to continue. Now he visits with the bravest of Floriade visitors who wander down the path into the wood.