What do human beings do in a pinch? We improvise. With the materials at hand. Basketmakers have been champion improvisers for eons. Baskets are arguably the oldest craft, and from time immemorial basketmakers have used the available materials from their environments to make lightweight, portable containers. In my sculptural work I attempt to honor the venerable basket tradition while extending the definition.
Just like basketmakers everywhere, I gather materials from my environment—admittedly an environment that happens to be urban and industrial, as well as natural. I have to be ready to rise to the challenges the various materials present because I never know what’s going to come my way. It is always fascinating to watch disparate elements come together and take shape. Serendipity is crucial in my search for materials and the discoveries of what they can do.
I come from generations of savers: thrifty and resourceful Scots and Swedes whose habits and skills carried them right on through the Depression in this country. When I was growing up in the 1950s, I wanted to be an archaeologist, always seeking out the value and virtues of the overlooked and the discarded, the telltale scraps and remnants. My father is an engineer and my mother a weaver and spinner. Somehow through me all of this comes out as improvised fiber sculptures made primarily from salvaged materials—with a very broad definition of “fiber”!
My ongoing parallel interest in improvisational dance also influences me tremendously in the sculptural work, especially in regard to an understanding of oganic form and trusting the creative process without knowing what will happen ahead of time. Improvisation is not only a way of art, but a way of life.
Baskets are such a potent metaphor for so many things: sustenance, culture, the body, the mind, the heart. But with so many lightweight paper and plastic containers taking over their function, will baskets survive into this new century as anything more than a nostalgic remnant? We live at an extremely interesting turning point in the history of this ancient human invention. As it breaks free from the requirements of functionality, the basket form is riper than ever for artistic experimentation.
American, b. 1950
B.A., University of Arizona, 1972
Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, D.C., 2002, 2000
Crafts at the Castle, Boston, Massachusetts, 2001, 2000, 1999 (juror 2001)
Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997
ACC Craft Show Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, 2000
Springtime in Paradise, Northampton, Massachusetts, 1999
Paradise East, Marlborough, Massachusetts, 1999, 1998
West Concord Designers Open Studios Weekend, Concord, Massachusetts, 1998
Lloyd Cotsen Collection
Wallace L. Anderson Gallery, Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, September 8–October 8, 1999
Contemporary Baskets 2002, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, California, June 22–July 20, 2002
Other Materials, Other Forms, Brookfield Craft Center, Brookfield, Connecticut, June 9–August 4, 2002, Jackie Abrams curator
CraftBoston, Boston, Massachusetts, May 16–19, 2002 (selected by Lloyd Herman)
Fiber Survey 2002, Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 1–May 30, 2002
Contemporary Basket Invitational, American Art Company, Tacoma, Washington, March–April, 2002
Art in Embassies Program, chosen by Ambassador and Mrs. Alexander Vershbow for Spaso House, Moscow, 2002–2004
Material Matters, Red Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, January 11–March 11, 2002
Contemporary Baskets, Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls, Montana, November 1, 2001–January 20, 2002
SOFA Chicago, represented by Snyderman Gallery of Philadelphia, 2001, 2000
Contemporary Basketry: No Boundaries, Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, Massachusetts, July 7–August 30, 2001
Woven Constructions, Craft Alliance, St. Louis, Missouri, June–July 2001, Jane Sauer curator
Contemporary Crafts 2001, Samuel Chen Art Center, Central Connecticut University, New Britain, Connecticut, February 5–22, 2001; Cassandra Broadus-Garcia, Vicente Garcia, James Bruxton curators
Imagine, OXOXO Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland, September 16–October 25, 2000
"Then/Again," FiberScene, online gallery show from San Francisco, California, approximately January 5–March 15, 2000, http://www.fiberscene.com/gallery2
Baskets, Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, Massachusetts, July 14–August 28, 1998 (with Kari Lønning, JoAnne Russo, and Debora Muhl)
Three Rivers Arts Festival Juried Visual Arts Exhibition (Basket #22): Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 5–21, 1998
Paper/Fiber XXI (Baskets #21, #23): Iowa City, Iowa, April 7–May 23, 1998
Fiber Celebrated '97 (Standing tapestry #3): Fort Collins, Colorado, July 31–September 6, 1997
Crafts National 31 (Basket #18): Zoller Gallery, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, June 1–July 20, 1997, William Daley juror
The Octagon's Clay, Fiber, Paper, Glass, Metal, & Wood Exhibition (Basket #14): Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, Iowa, March–April 1997
Sixth Annual Arizona Textile Competition ("Receptive Offering" and "Ghost from Ravaged River"): Tucson, Arizona, February 1978, Ed Rossbach juror
Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls, Montana (see Invitational Exhibitions)
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Museum Shop, summer–fall 1999
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, "1998 Contemporary Baskets" (Baskets #6, 20, 27): (with eight other basketmakers), Arts Sales & Rental Gallery, March 31–April 23, 1998
The Children's Museum, Boston, Massachusetts: consultant for new weaving center 1995.
Basket #3 selected for permanent exhibit with artist's statement and photograph of artist, beginning November 1995 The Tucson Museum of Art, Craftsperson-of-the-Month, January 1979, (two-person professional show with potter John McNulty)
Ornament Magazine, Autumn 2001, p. 51 American Style Magazine, feature article, Spring 2001, pp. 8, 36, 38, 40; Collector's Corner, Winter 2001, p. 83
Baskets: Tradition and Beyond, Guild Books, 2001, p. 68
Smithsonian Magazine, full-page feature, May 2000, p. 92
Making the New Baskets: Alternative Materials, Traditional Techniques, (including introductory essay & works by Rob Dobson), Lark Books, 2000, p. 115
Fiberarts Design Book Six, 1999, p. 74
American Craft, October/November 1997, p. 115