The exhibit was curated by Pati English, known for her weaving and teaching in throughout the southeast US. I have enjoyed knowing Pati at the North Carolina Basketmakers Association Convention each March, where she usually teaches. Here is Pati, walking through the gallery of baskets, surrounded by reception attendees: Evidently, the Director of the Pickens Museum, Allen Coleman invited Pati to curate a basketry exhibit at the museum. What a wonderful idea, and such a fabulous opportunity for the weaving community! Pati decided to highlight basketmakers from SC and the neighboring states, showing a range of basketry from the traditional, functional use baskets, all the way to the strictly modern-style, non-functional baskets featured in art galleries. The opening reception was well-attended, bringing interested parties (and alot of basketmakers!) from several states. It was a great opportunity to meet with the artists whose work was included in the exhibition. Above, Tika Tucker explains some of her work to an attendee. More photos of the exhibition, including of all the artists, are on the Picken's Museum Facebook page. But here are some excepts. Most of the works are for sale.
By Barbara McCormick, "Sweetgrass Fanner Basket." All of Barbara's sweetgrass baskets are woven using the coil method, and include sweetgrass, long leaf pine needles, bulrush, and palmetto leaves, as generations of her family have done. This is an example of a traditional basket that was particularly important to SC. Historically, this style (and material) basket was made by African slaves for use on rice plantations. This particular type of basket was used for fanning, or winnowing, rice hulls. Barbara's version is probably a little fancier than most, with it's braided rim.
By Gail McKinley, "Fish Basket (Trap) of Split Oak," and "Miniature Fish Basket." Gail uses hand-pounded white oak to make traditional use baskets. These fish baskets were made the way her father and grandfather made them. Gail says she has met people from around the world who recognize this style of woven trap! She also displayed a selection of other traditional use baskets, seen in the background, most of them were typically used for eggs.
By Pati English, "Twill in Black." Pati's choices of baskets for this exhibit demonstrate her versatility and love of color and form. Pati's baskets use traditional techniques, but she stretches the traditional use basket into the modern era. Her baskets, while still recognizable as baskets, have additional elements of color and shape that obviously transcend traditional use. She also did a fabulous job curating!
By Dolores Von Rosen, "Mountain Range." Dolores was first intrigued by basketry in the first grade (!!) and now focuses on form and color, dying and weaving reed and seagrass. The lovely undulating shape and rich colors of this basket was obviously inspired by the mountains. Dolores is another basketmaker who uses traditional techniques to sometimes make baskets that are useable as containers, yet are made with an extra aesthetic as well.
By Laura Lee Zanger, "Diamonds and Arrows Mat," and "Chitimatcha Diamonds." Laura Lee focuses on eye-dazzling plaited designs. This particular color and pattern combination is wonderfully appealing. Though Laura Lee also teaches, (as do most of the artists in this exhibit) she is immersed in mathematics and technique. She spends weeks before weaving figuring out the basket - graphing the weave, taking traditional Native American designs to the next level by combining them in new ways. Her work is as much graphics and surface design as it weaving.
By Tika Tucker, "Migraine," "Bark Basket," Navajo Jewel."
Tika has a real talent for form and color, and this arrangement pleased me most of all those in the show. I love the juxtaposition between the very even repetitive structure of the baskets flanking the random beauty of the natural bark basket, as well as the very lovely subtle color play. Tika experiments with color and pattern and seems to love the challenge of making the squared element round. Her work is always an amazing dance.
By Michael Davis, detail of "Pointalistic Dance." Michael is very obviously a gallery artist, and uses basket weaving techniques to create very sculptural, colorful, non-functional pieces. Also, he sometimes uses familiar, non-traditional objects in his weaving to provoke and give unique texture. This piece uses quilting pins and watercolor brushes for texture and interest. Another used giant pine cone scales. These are pieces that take center stage, and in this exhibit, the lighting does a dance with the baskets as well.
It is a genuine pleasure and honor to have had my work included in this show! Of course it is worth a special trip to see this exhibition! It runs through November 11! Don't forget to visit the nice little gift shop and museum.
There will also be a basketweaving workshop on October 30, taught by Pati English, as part of this exhbition. Registration deadline for the workshop is Oct. 16. Don't miss it!
I am a fiber artist, wife, and mother. My Catching the Moon series of weavings is largely about my life and the pursuit of dreams. See my Catching the Moon series on my website. I generally use basketry techniques, but love to mix media and techniques. I also use this blog to highlight my online guild, The Pine Needle Group (www.PineNeedleGroup.com )Thanks for reading my blog!