Sunday, May 22, 2016

Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makers - an exhibition

A mix of contemporary forms and colors are presented with traditional materials and techniques in the Wilton Historical Society's main exhibition gallery. March 31 - October 15, 2016.

My rattan baskets, 1979 - 2015

Waxed linen forms by Lois Russell

Waxed linen forms by Lois Russell

Waxed linen forms by Lois Russell

Black ash, splint baskets by Jonathan Kline

Black ash basket by Jonathon Kline

Contemporary Nantucket Lightship baskets by Gail Halvorsen and Harry Hilbert

Natural materials were used in Marion Hildebrandt's baskets

Brown ash splint baskets by Steven Zeh

Monday, February 15, 2016

Paint Box Colors

At the end of February I'll be exhibiting a new collection of baskets in Florida, at the Palm Beach Fine Craft Show. Often people don't see or consider what happens before artwork can begin. Colors need to be chosen, the reed needs to be cut, then it can be dyed. Often the colors inspire color combinations, then patterns and a form evolve. Sometimes a complete idea emerges, but often changes are made as the basket comes to life.

The Connecticut landscape is muted and the temperatures are often frigid. In the winter, weaving with color is my way to celebrate being an artist. (In the summer, I garden with plants and flowers.)

I've been mixing my own colors and saving the dye recipes since I began weaving 40 years ago. I use old recipes as they are or as starting points for new or subtle variations.

A collection of cut and dyed "hairy" pieces. 

Laying out a priliminary color scheme.

I create the "hairy" texture by placing one short piece of reed behind each upright spoke. As I work up the side of the basket, I plan where the colors will be. (Often I need to take out a few rows and replace colors when I see how the colors work with each other.)

By seeing how tall the basket will be, I'm better able to visualize the overall design.

The inner rim was woven to imply weight and to create a sense of mystery. The inside pattern appears where the "hairy" pieces were placed behind each spoke. Encaustic medium (a mixture of bees wax and demar resin) is applied to the finished basket creating a rich sheen and a protective coating.

As the basket is turned, the color combinations change and a painterly effect is created. The finished basket entitled "Paint Box," measures 10.25" x 14.5."