Over the last several months I’ve been thinking about how weavers are interested in creating so many kinds of baskets. The variety of techniques and materials is exceptionally broad.
In June, the Guild exhibited at A Day in the Life of Colonial White Plains. Lots of folks came to the table with questions about how baskets were made then and now. The exhibit table featured baskets similar to the ones that would have been used at that time, though made with modern materials. All of the baskets were functional with minimal decorations, and the visitors helped to imagine how they would have been used in a colonial household.
In July I visited The Blue Door Gallery’s exhibit, “Putting It All Together” in Yonkers. Mary Parker had three baskets on exhibit. These were all random weave creations, designed to be purely visual and textural art. And they achieved their purpose, creatively stretching the definition of a basket.
And then as part of a tour at HGA Convergence in Milwaukee in August, I visited the studio of Laura Weber in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. It was a petite and organized studio, tucked into one corner of the Woolen Mill Building in the back of the Pink Llama Gallery. Laura’s work represented a cross between Mary’s work and traditional functional basketry. Laura takes traditional weaving and shapes, including catheads, and “incorporates various upcycled and recycled materials such as reclaimed copper, driftwood, inner tubes and horse tack. These materials are either incorporated into the weaving or used as surface design elements.” (artdose, Art Guide 2016, Volume XV, p.4.)
So how do you define a basket? Any way you wish!