Jill Nordfors Clark

The native people of the Canadian and Alaskan far north, who historically used seal and walrus gut to make clothing and vessels, inspire my work with hog gut (better known as sausage casing).

While seal and walrus gut are protected by law and can be used only by indigenous people, hog gut (white and opaque when wet, but translucent and parchment-like when dry), is readily available and serves as a suitable substitute.

Needle lace (a form of embroidery used in making lace with a needle and thread) has been my lifetime focus. It has been a natural transition for me to use these familiar stitches in a new way by making three-dimensional sculptural baskets out of this non-traditional material.

My baskets are constructed over a mold, threading the hog gut on a large needle and working the stitches over and around natural and found materials. In my latest work, I have been exploring the possibilities of combining dyed and natural gut with twigs, thread, stainless steel wire, and colorful parachute cord.

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