I am a sculptor. I delineate and describe space in a seamless way. As a sculptor, I make extensive use of my sketchbook. This is where the most creative part of my work takes place. Here I develop my forms. I can draw anything I want. It is wonderful to keep a sketchbook as an ongoing record of my creative thoughts. The challenge is to translate these drawings in into actual objects. Occasionally, I make precise renderings on graph paper to work out some of the complex weave structures that I would like to use in my baskets. These become essential “road maps” that I follow as I sit down to weave a particularly difficult pattern.
I have always studied art and world history. I use the library and visit museums regularly, where I can immerse myself in art and cultural exhibitions. I get many of my inspirations for patterns in this way.
Each of my baskets is one-of-a-kind. These baskets are elegant, minimal expressions of form that celebrate pattern (and sometimes color) using intricate woven structures. The woven structures are comprised of thin wooden strips that are woven together using complex twill and satin weaves, often in various combinations. When light and dark sequencing of the wooden strips are incorporated into these structural systems, striking patterns are produced on the surfaces of the baskets. This is truly joyous work to create.
Thin wooden strips being bendable and pliable, readily lending themselves to weaving. Being a natural material, the woods I use provide my forms an appealing warmth.
Once I have decided on a form and a weave structure to articulate the surface (based on my drawings), I start to process my materials. The first thing I do is cut the necessary strips to length and taper, and if required I paint them. This is done out of doors, on my patio. The cutting and painting can be very messy. I line dry the painted strips by the hundreds. It is a beautiful sight when the wind blows through those drying strips.
I sit down at a table to weave the strips together, often referring to my drawings. After the weaving is done and the form takes its final shape, I staple the two directions of the elements of the basket together at the edges, to keep the form from unraveling. If the basket needs a base or foot, I fabricate it in my wood shop, often using the bandsaw, sander and sometimes the wood lathe. I attach the base to the woven part of the basket and then finish the outer edges with layer upon layer of bentwood laminations (thin strips of wood glued together layer upon layer). The final trimming and sanding of the edges is done before the touch up painting. After two light applications of varnish are applied, the basket is ready for signing.
I think the baskets that I create are timeless. Much of the drama present in this work is due to the way that the materials (simple wooden strips) accommodate themselves to the form and how the intricate patterns on the surface of the compound curves flow naturally around the form. The basket shapes are based on basic math that we all respond to and understand like cones, circles, triangles, squares, etc. The patterns delineated in these baskets are part of a universal language, recognized by all: zig zags, spirals, chevrons, meanders, stripes, squares, etc. Together, these forms and patterns can be interpreted in many ways. To me they are profound, touching the viewer very deeply.