Justin and Shannon Roberts began their journey onto a path less traveled in 2012 when they moved into a small farmhouse with a red tin roof. There, Justin studied under George Anderson Beard, Master Artist of folk art of bentwood willow furniture. Shannon researched the origins and uses of Salix and together in 2014 they established Walk the Willow.
Throughout their experiences, they have developed an ecocentric philosophy and apply these concepts to all they do. Justin has been a featured speaker at the Furniture Society of America, he has been featured in the National Basketry Association’s Magazine, and has won awards for his willow furniture craft. In 2019, they branched into art for social change & large sculptural work at the Bernheim Artist Residency and a residency at the Josephine Sculpture Park.
During the pandemic, they served their community by crafting nine food pantry boxes. Justin also used this time to focus on the “Neverending Fence”. They look forward to continuing their art for social change work through the New South Arts Initiative, a nonprofit to support and grow bio & cultural diversity. In addition, they are working on establishing a working willow farm powered by willow biomass where the lost art of willow furniture will thrive on another generation.