Sunday, April 14, 2013

How Teaching has renewed my interest in Functional Basketry

Student Weaving

I've been teaching basketry and fiber art as an Artist-in-Residence for six years; 
Blackacre Conservatory, 2007

and for most of those years I had been focused on sculptural work and installation art. Although my interest has remained constant in creating exceptionally well crafted pieces -with great attention to detail. I've had a conversion of sorts.
Student Work, Spot 5 Art Studio, 2010

I want to say it started with the amazing work my students have produced. -And I've been pretty infatuated with the materials, especially when they come in a big box full.

But I really think it came from working directly with the students, problem solving to create pieces they were interested in.
Most of my residencies are based in Public Schools, which involve requests for historical and/or cultural connections to our work; and most of the historical/cultural references to basketry are as functional art. Although I often introduce the concept of using basketry methods to create art object sculptures -with no functionality intended- the students often want them to have some sort of functional use. By the beginning of this year, I was becoming frustrated. I wanted to be one of the students in my class creating my own interesting, artistically designed, functional piece.
But one piece was not enough for me. I've started working on a whole series of funtional pieces. First it started small:
Just a few mini baskets. Then I started thinking bigger:
And then in functional multiples (nesting bowls):
Not quite sure what's next.

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