What Most People Don’t Know About Willow Tree Figurines

Most people think Willow Tree figurines are made of wood – but here we expose the facts behind these amazing pieces. You may think they are turned in wood on a lathe but nothing could be further from the truth. Read on to discover how Willow Tree figurines are really designed, how they move from prototype to finished product and how this keeps the prices low. In reading this, you can find out exactly how individually sculpted artwork can be sold to the public at a prices you can afford.

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The journey starts with the artist Susan Lordi taking inspiration from the world of human emotion around her to create one figurine. Her inspiration comes from the world of dance, ballet and modern dancers movements influencing her range of figures where remember, emotion is only demonstrated through body language, not facial features. Susan also draws on the natural world and her everyday life with her family and friends. With movement, nature and strong relationships at the heart of her art, she moves onto the sculpting phase.

the dancer by tinosweeping willow at lake by Ayla87juliana by francogthe spring flowers by betoslater

Each piece is created by hand, where Susan moulds and carves a type of specialized sculpting clay. She uses sculpting knives, which are responsible for the characteristic ‘knife marked’ look of the pieces, perhaps why people assume they are wooden. Once complete, her original figurines are carefully packed for their journey to China where they are especially cast in resin. The process allows for those ‘knife marks’ to be reproduced exactly, keeping the original hand made look of each piece. The pieces are cured so they are ready for the next stage, the hand painted finishing in a soft, muted palette of colours.

The casting phase allows for each piece to retain its artisan crafted look yet be produced in a cost effective manner that ultimately means more people can enjoy these pieces. The eventual product for the consumer is an original artist design, hand sculpted in clay, reproduced in high detail yet retailing at a fraction of the price of a gallery piece.

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This means these are items you really can buy for gift occasions right throughout the year, without having to save for each piece for that one special occasion. Although sadly recently Chinese made goods have been the subject of some safety scares, Susan takes the time to assure the public the figurine paints are lead free. The combination of original artwork and faithful reproduction probably accounts for the lines loyal and growing following, as people are able to enjoy new additions to her artwork collection year after year in their own homes.

By Kathy Ponsonby & Phillip Jeffreys

Photo Credits

The Dancer http://www.sxc.hu/profile/tinos Weeping Willow at Lake  http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Ayla87 Juliana (dancer in red) http://www.sxc.hu/profile/francog

The Spring Flowers http://www.sxc.hu/profile/betoslater

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The Lowdown On Where to Buy Willow Tree Figurines

No matter where you are in the world, you can find a great price on Willow Tree figurines for yourself or for a special gift occasion. This page explains the pros and cons of worldwide EBay sellers, other sources, information on the older pieces and tips on shipping without breakages. This will help you track down a good price and ship safely for a delightful gift no matter where you’re reading this from.

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As well as the official stockists, wherever you are in the world there is bound to be an EBay seller who will ship to you. The beauty of this art is it is hand sculpted in clay then painstakingly reproduced in resin. This means it will ship more safely to locations worldwide, unlike the many risks associated with shipping traditional porcelain figurines. EBay now has an entire subcategory for Willow Tree figurines and also gives the choice to buy brand new figurines or pre-loved ones, perhaps further lowering your costs.

The downside of the strategy is obvious – you may not be able to find the full range online of course, in which case the official Willow Tree website carries details of official stockists in the USAS, Canada, the UK & Ireland, France, New Zealand and Australia. For lucky UK customers, there are more stores online selling the figurines. If you’re happy to carry on bargain hunting however, try local classifieds online – these are collectable figures and you may well find one on sale in your local area. There are also now even one or two enthusiast forums online that may be able to point you in the right direction.

Earlier figurines are now changing hands on specialist figurine collector sites and of course on EBay around the world. A snapshot of prices ranged from $30 to $5 for individual figurines, with sets coming in more towards (or over $100). We suggest you stick to searches with words like ‘collectables’ rather than ‘vintage’ as they’re too contemporary to have entered the antiques   – even though retired, these are firmly contemporary art pieces. Beware of anyone trying to pass one off as vintage – remember the line was started in 2000 and as such should not really be included in any credible vintage dealer’s figurines inventory.

retuired

One thing to bear in mind is while these superb gifts are not as precarious to ship as porcelain, they are sadly  still capable of breakages. When you are sending them try packing them with extra tissue paper gently around exposed fingers of any protruding features, with bubble wrap layers inside a strong cardboard box. Then place the cardboard box inside another one and fill in the spaces with bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Don’t’ use newspaper next to the figurines as the newsprint can run and ruin them. When you’re packing, imagine the box will be used as both a football and a table and you kind of have an idea of what sometimes goes on behind the scenes at shipping companies – despite your scrawled marker pen ‘fragile’ on the packaging!

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Given that the figurines are all about universal appeal, its no suprise that people all over the world are falling in love with them. Whilst there are stores you can walk in and have a look at them up close in, its equally true there’s a roaring online trade, probably due to their less fragile nature than china, glass or porcelain. So don’t despair if you don’t live in a country with an official stockist,  a little reading here can help you check the shipper is packaging them properly before you buy and avoid getting charged unreasonable prices for shady resellers claiming they are somehow vintage or antique – these are more contemporary and you shouldn’t have to pay through the nose for one.

By Kathy Ponsonby & Phillip Jeffreys

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Willow Tree Figurines for Christmas

Willow tree figurines make perfect gifts at any time of the year, but are an absolute treasure trove of gift ideas during the Christmas season. At this festive time, don’t find yourself stuck for ideas or rehashing the same boring Christmas presents – nobody really likes a bland thoughtless present and many simply get ‘re gifted’. This post explains the types of figurines which may work especially well for Christian family/friends/colleagues at Christmas time, more ideas for other folks,  and hints on how to package and wrap them to arrive safe, sound and looking beautiful. By the time you’ve read this, you should have a list of ideas as either a quick ideal gift solution or a starter point to explore the range more for that perfect present.

Willow Tree Figurines Nativity Set

Willow Tree Figurines Nativity Set

There are many figurines in the lines from individual figures, to groups, to a full nativity set. For a friend who follows the Christian faiths, the nativity set is an obvious choice but you be looking for a smaller gift (and price tag) but still need it to be special. Not to panic, there are also angels which are sold singly which are perfect Christian gifts.

Willow Tree Angel of Caring

Willow Tree Angel of Caring

Willow Tree Angel of Freedom

Willow Tree Angel of Freedom

There is the Angel of Healing, of Caring, of Freedom, of Harmony (playing a flute), of Healing and of Grace to chose from as stand alone figurines. Two more figurines, the Angel of Hope, and of Friendship are also available as ornaments to hang from the Christmas tree.

Willow Tree Angel of Hope

Willow Tree Angel of Hope

Willow Tree Angel of Hope ornament

Willow Tree Angel of Hope ornament

Then there is the special 2009 Christmas ornament, to symbolise peace and joy throughout the year. Finally, one more angel is simply called “a tree, a prayer” and is available as a stand alone figurine, a beautiful metal edged hanging ornament, embellishing a candle holder, or decorating a beautiful green “Memory Box ” for special momentos.

Willow Tree a tree a prayer memory box

Willow Tree a tree a prayer memory box

For many people though, Christmas is a more secular affair rather than a religious occasion, and you can still cater for them within the range in superb style.

If the person you are shopping for is either not following the Christian faith or someone you wouldn’t want to buy an angel for for some reason, start by thinking about their home life and their interests. There are many figurines that any parent could relate to, the picture here is of the closet you can buy to add figurines to year after year.

Willow Tree figurines closet to display them in

Willow Tree figurines closet to display them in

For people who don’t have children there are single figurines, such as ‘Welcoming Spirit’ which are great for home décor, or for those in relationships, why not think about the ‘Together’ figurines? Once you’ve chosen your figureines, there’s the question of how to wrap them for safe posting and for an impressive looking Christmas present.

In order to safely wrap for posting, try double boxing them. Take your first box and then place it in a second carton, packing the gap in-between the boxes with bubble wrap. Then seal the whole carton with packaging tape not regular clear sticky tape. Having said this, the figurines are made of resin so should be safer to post than porcelain in any case. For wrapping, take your gift paper and when you wrap, fold it over at the ends to create a ‘hem’ which will give a better outline to your parcel. You might also want to to invest in ‘invisible’ clear tape designed for gift wrapping for a professional touch. One easy way to pull of professional looking gift wrapping when you’re short of time is metallic gold or silver gift paper with wide gold or silver ribbon, the type that has thin wire stitched along each side of the width of the ribbon.

Wired type gift wrap ribbon

Wired type gift wrap ribbon

You can easily create beautiful bows with the ‘wired’ ribbon, even if you’re not a super-confident wrapper – the wires help hide a less than perfect bow shape and make the bow look more luxuriant. You may even be able to pick up a carton of the wired ribbon in “Pound Stores” (UK) or “Dollar Stores” (USA/ Canada”) – its not always expensive and really does transform even the clumsiest wrapped parcels into truly beautiful packages!

Wire bows make packages look beautiful

Wire bows make packages look beautiful

Another super fast tip is to use a pretty gift bag and fill it with shredded tissue paper then tie the bag handles with ribbon into a bow (again try the wired type ribbon).

Shredded tissue helps gift bags look great

Shredded tissue helps gift bags look great

Yes, there are special Christmas themed figurines and even tree ornaments available but really the range will lend itself to all sorts of gifts for all sorts of people. Each one is far more likely to be memorable git than a pair of socks or a bottle of wine but you can still order on-line, may be able to have it delivered gift wrapped to the recipient and save the hassle of a trip round the mall in lousy weather. From this point of view, Willow Tree figurines really are a godsend in the gift shopping department and you now have some ideas about choosing Christmas ones and how to wrap them. Hopefully this will inspire you to peruse the collection, choose the right figurines and cross through another name or two on your seasonal gift shopping list!

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