North Suffolk man unveils his hardest bespoke willow creation

Robert Yates from Brampton Willow has created a giant Propeller made from Willow. Robert Yates from Brampton Willow has created a giant Propeller made from Willow.

Saturday, March 8, 2014
6:30 AM

A Suffolk man who designs and creates bespoke willow products has made his most difficult piece to date in the form of a giant propeller.

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Robert Yates from Brampton Willow has created a giant Propeller made from Willow.Robert Yates from Brampton Willow has created a giant Propeller made from Willow.

In the past Robert Yates, owner of Brampton Willows, has made various obstacles for cross country courses at the top international horse trials, including Badminton and Burghley, as well as travelling to The Bahamas to construct willow fences for a client.

However Mr Yates has recently unveiled his latest work of art - a 4-metre diameter willow propeller - commissioned by award winning London architects Studio RHE, to use as a centre piece sculpture for one of their projects.

Mr Yates, who founded the family-run business in the mid 1980s, said: “It was by far the most difficult piece of work I have ever done.

“I have never made anything like it before. It was award because it was so huge.

“Technically it was difficult to make because I had to work out how it would work in three-dimensions. Trying to get my head around getting the blades to twist in three dimensions was very difficult.”

Mr Yates started creating the propeller by making a maquette - a small scale model. He designed it so that one of the three blades can be detached, making it easier to transport.

He said: “I’m delighted with it. You don’t really know how these things are going to work out when you start them, but having made the maquette I knew I could do it. It was just a case of scaling it up.”

Mr Yates was contacted by Studio RHE after one of their architects visited an exhibition of his work last summer.

Mr Yates said: “I had a display at Snape Maltings last summer of some abstract shapes I had made to get people to think a bit and that’s where it came from.

“I met their architect and we were chatting away about what things were possible for me to make. He said he would give me a call and then he sent me a drawing of a propeller he wanted me to make.

“They wanted it as the focal point in one of their new buildings. It’s going to be displayed outside but in a covered area set at an angle.”

The propeller took Mr Yates several weeks to make and has a steel base covered in willow.

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