2020: NOT THE BEST YEAR
Blog #1, Nov. 4, 2020
I have to admit, 2020 has not been a stellar year for most of us. But it is the year I am a Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist and, for that, I am very grateful. Thank you, everyone, who has helped me get here.
It’s been my fourth attempt to receive this grant. I’m a basket maker exploring how to continue a basketry craft heritage that is atypical. I upcycle non-conventional weaving materials (trash) with traditional commercial weaving materials and harvested naturals and use traditional techniques to create forms and sculptures. They are not necessarily functional baskets.
During this exciting time, I will make every effort to learn much and create pieces in basketry that will be as exciting to you (and viewers) as they are to me.
I strive to make beautiful things out of discards. I’m challenged to create installations that can create an awareness about our excessive consumerism and its effect on our environment. I hope to positively influence viewers so that we might, as a community, discuss and discover solutions to this universal concern.
LEARNING TO MAKE MY OWN BASKETS
More than 30 years ago, I wanted baskets (for storage, of course) but found myself not willing to pay the prices at Michael’s or Joann’s (even at 40-50% off!). So I started taking lessons from an informal weaver through a Craft Class at the University of South Florida Student Union and eventually joined the Tampa Bay Basketmakers Guild (TBBG).
I learned how to weave all types of traditional baskets, took workshops from guild members, traveling instructors and nationally known instructors at regional, state and national basket weaving conventions and conferences. Among my teachers: Jerry Bleem, Flo Hoppe, Kari Lonning, Diane Lunow, Marilyn Moore, Jo Stealey, Gina Telcocci and my TBBG friends, Karen Woods, Sharon James, Donna Wilson, Betty Kemink, and Jan Oberlag.
The last several years I’ve experimented using non-conventional materials, mainly recycled paper, scrap weaving materials (rescued from the trash can after Guild meetings) and natural yard trash. My vision was to show that discards could become “art,” and that idea was validated when my “trashy” art baskets were accepted for both the Florida CraftArt Festival and the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.
So now, this part of my art journey will focus on showing how discards will be made into art. And you are invited to come along.