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Letter from the editor 2 President’s Letter 3 New Faces 5-7 Book Review 8 Cherokee Basketmakers 9-13 Joanne Brandford 14-16 Book Review 17 Carl Watson 18-21 Fellows Award 22-23, 26 Calendar 24-25 Award Winner 27 National Basketry Organization

INSIDE

quarterly review | winter 2012

Promoting the art, skill, heritage, and education of traditional and contemporary basketry.

WWW.NATIONALBASKETRY.ORG


letter from

the editor

NBOBOARDMEMBERS President Lois Russell Boston, MA Vice President Matt Tommey Asheville, NC Past President Michael Davis Brasstown, NC Treasurer Donya Stockton Austin, TX Secretary Jo Stealey Columbia, MO JoAnn Kelly Catsos Ashley Winters, MA Wyona Lynch-McWhite Brockton, MA Susi Nuss Tunkhannock, PA Pamela Saint-Pierre San Francisco, CA

ON THE COVER Artist: Aaron Yakim Swing-Handled Egg Baskets, 2011 6” and 3” rim diameters Hand-split white oak Photography by © Robert Batey Photography NBO Quarterly Review Editor Michael Davis Graphic Designer Tami Warrington tjwarrington@yahoo.com page 2

The beautiful Arrowmont campus in the Fall.

Traditions & Innovations VII September 10 -15, 2013

Arrowmont, the conceptualization and birthplace of NBO, will be hosting our seventh Biennial Conference. The excitement is building as the NBO Board begins to develop the conference agenda, that will include instructors, exhibitions, keynote speakers and special events. The Winter issue of the NBO Quarterly Review provides a plethora of weaving genius. In the New Faces section, we have two glass artists who work as a team to create stunning woven glass sculptures. This secret process is not similar to any glass artists work that I have seen in the country to date. With this issue we are ending our series on the generational Cherokee basketmaking families. Geraldine Walkingstick, Mary W. Thompson and Sarah Thompson all project strong personas and have turned tragic events into triumphant accomplishments. Working with the Goings and Walkingstick/Thompson families in print and video has been a learning experience and I am honored to share their stories with our readership. It was heartwarming to receive notification after all the years of dedication and hard work that Aaron Yakim won a $50,000.00 USA Fellowship. Many consider Aaron as the premier white oak basket maker in the country. His long term partnership with Cynthia Taylor has been inspirational to his work and life. Also featured in this issue is Carl Watson, who at 95 years young, looks dapper and has neither a weed in his garden nor a speck of dust in his home. His dedication to making pine needle baskets continues as he teaches residents in his living facility to work with their hands and make pine needle baskets. You will enjoy reading about his life’s journey and passion for creating new designs for his basketry. Recently, the NBO board accepted the resignation of Helene Meyer, Co-Founder and past Vice-President, a staunch proponent for basketry. Helene is a life time member of the organization and she and her husband, Gene, donated substantial financial support throughout the years. Her organizational skills, strategic planning, and financial accumen helped NBO grow into a leading force in the Arts/Crafts community. We are grateful for her years of service and appreciate her dedication to NBO. In closing, the NBO board and I would like to express our sorrow at the loss of Jan Peters. Personally, she was a friend and a long time supporter of basketry. Not only did she serve on the NBO Board for many years, Jan and her business partner Ray Leier were one of the first art galleries to promote and sell basketry in the United States. For several years she fought a valiant battle with cancer and will certainly be missed by many. See page 8.  ichael Davis M Co-Founder NBO Executive Director of Special Projects


president’s LETTER A

s we firmed up plans for our 2013 NBO conference this week, I got a large unmarked white envelope in the mail. It turned out to the brochure for the Northeast Basketmakers Guild’s annual spring conference “The Gathering.” How appropriate. At the risk of conjuring up Andy Rooney’s ghost, I have to ask. Have you ever noticed how often basket makers gather? We have workshops, conferences, conventions, retreats, guild meetings and gatherings that dot the length of the calendar and fill the width and breath of this very large country. We like to get together. And when we do, we have fun. Take a look at the pictures of the folks at these get-togethers. Even if the photo is of one person, you can see groups chatting and working together in the background. We enjoy one another. People are holding up baskets and grinning. People are grouped around watching a demonstration. People are talking and gesturing. Everybody is engaged. I am sure we have a few grouches in our number, but I think basket makers are uncommonly friendly. The first time I went to an NBO conference, I knew only two other people and I didn’t know them well. Four days later, I had a whole crowd of new best friends from around the country. As the president of the NBO I often think about how NBO can help its members satisfy this urge to be with one another. To start, of course, NBO can start by letting you know when other basket makers are going to be getting together. Our new monthly online newsletter Over/Under is ready to help you make those connections. Are you looking for someone to weave with in Wisconsin, to twine with in Tennessee or coil with in Colorado, this is the place to put out a call. Going on a trip and want some local advice, this is the place to ask. All it takes to post a notice is a quick email to nbonews@gmail.com.

working to schedule more open studio time and to make sure we have offerings that will appeal to newer basket makers. And, if you really want to be connected, we welcome member involvement in board committees such as membership and conference planning. This sort of work (we try to make it play) is the best way to get to know others. Just send me an email and I will be happy to talk with you about what you might want to do. The most important thing NBO can do as a national organization is to provide the string that binds us all together. It may not be easy to build a community that includes people from Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, and Concord, New Hampshire... but, it can happen. We have chosen to be an inclusive organization. We welcome makers who faithfully preserve the traditions of basket making, keeping alive the beautiful patterns and forms of historical baskets and we also welcome the makers who are pushing these traditions in ways that have us all fretting over a precise definition of the word “basket.” Both are fueling modern basket making and keeping it vibrant and dynamic. We have room for the beginners and the experts, and respect the work of the hobbyist and the pros. You are part of this. So give your end of the string a tug and get more involved. And take your piece of string and extend it to friends who love baskets by inviting them to join NBO. I am comfortable that you can promise them they will meet some great people and have fun. ~ Lois Russell, President of NBO

We have heard from a couple of people that they have not received the Over/Under e-newsletter in the email inboxes. If you haven’t gotten it please check with the office. If you want more electronic “connectivity” we also have a page on Facebook to keep you in touch. And our newly designed website (coming soon?) will include a comprehensive list of guilds so people can find these wonderful groups easily. If you also enjoy that old-fashioned in person connection, NBO is busy organizing our gathering in Arrowmont and invite you all. We have looked carefully at survey results and comments from Stonehill to come up with a conference that has the features you want. It is too early to promise anything, but we are investigating having courses designed to help with professional growth such as how to use the internet effectively and how to produce professional photographs. We are also Tri-axial weave at Yellowstone, January 2010 www.nationalbasketry.org • Winter 2012

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n e w

fa c e s :

a

gl as s

act

The Alchemy and Allure of MARKOW & NORRIS

Eastern Sunset 18” x 18” x 7” woven glass Photography by Javier Agostinelli

w w w . w o v e n g l a s s . c o m Eric Markow (left) Thom Norris (right) page 4

Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


Texas Longhorn Skull 25” x 25” x 7” woven glass Photography by Javier Agostinelli Rainbow Peace Crane 40” wing tip to tip, 23” high, 36” nose to tail woven glass Photography by Javier Agostinelli

S

ince their debut in 2003, the enigmatic duo of Markow & Norris have taken the art world by storm with their revolutionary woven glass sculptures that continue to astonish gallerists and art critics alike. Markow & Norris have been featured in over 40 publications, received national news coverage and have exhibited their work in major markets including New York, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. With respective backgrounds in chemical engineering and biology, Eric Markow and Thom Norris unite science and art in a delicately choreographed process of manipulating blazing glass into seemingly impossible sculptures that break boundaries and challenge the laws of physics. If you’re not familiar with Markow & Norris you’re probably scratching your head wondering exactly how one might possibly weave glass. You’re not alone! It’s a conundrum that even the

most skilled glass artisans have yet to decipher. “An element of our work is magic,” mused Thom Norris. “We take a natural, molten glass, sourced from sand, and scientifically force it into an impossible shape, ultimately returning it to a natural organic form.” A glass menagerie of organic forms includes a Georgia O’Keefe-inspired Texas Longhorn Skull, a series of 35-pound multi-colored Peace Cranes (inspired by their pet parrots Sidney & Simon), the Golden Poppy, the state flower of Norris’s native California, the impressive Indian Elephant Head, a 5-foot long wall sculpture, and their life-sized series of Kimonos. The Winter Twilight Kimono, the second of what will soon be a series of four hand woven glass Kimonos, stands over 5 feet tall with an outreached arm span of over 4 feet and weighs 125 pounds. The Kimono series is a slight departure from sculpting with evenly measured strips of woven glass as many irregular shaped pieces are interwoven into the landscape of the

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Right: Winter Twilight Kimono front 5.5 ft. tall with arm span of 4.5 ft. woven glass Photography by Javie Agostinelli Below: Winter Twilight Kimono back

glass fabric. This newer style expands the design duo’s ability to represent organic scenery and is a return to stained glass, their origins in the art world. The architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, the stained glass lamps of Louis Tiffany Comfort and American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly further inspire Markow & Norris. Architectural influences, along with a shared love for color and the contradictions of foreign lands, help challenge the weight and scale of their immense works. There are several theories on how glass was first created and manipulated by humans. Historians believe that the Phoenicians

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used glass to glaze ceramic objects such as cups, vases and plates as early as 3000 B.C. The Phoenincians continued to develop the glazing material until they were able to create items entirely from glass. It is from Mesopotamia that historians believe furnace structures developed as early as 2700 B.C. At the turn of the 21st century, Markow & Norris developed a unique technique of weaving glass in their Virginia studio, which took over 5 years to perfect. After they transform glass into powder, they add a different color sheet and melt the entire mixture so that it can be sifted through on a different color sheet of glass. Scalding

hot glass is manipulated while it’s still in the kiln, which allows for weaving, to create striations. “There was definitely a lot of trial and error,” exclaimed Norris. While Markow mixes distinctive glass colors in order to create an infinite palette that accentuates their vibrant works, Norris prefers to sketch out a rough draft of the art. Colors are tested for compatibility. Markow’s ideas are typically built on a light table without a drawing. They give careful consideration to color transition both horizontally and vertically, creating both subtle and sharp color gradients. Due to the proprietary nature of their innovative glass weaving technique, Markow & Norris don’t quite divulge exactly how they are

Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


able to create their highly imaginative works. “We don’t teach anyone how to do it,” quipped Markow. ‘We like keeping the mystery in it.” Markow & Norris interrupted the creation of their life-sized Kimono Series, featuring the world’s largest woven glass sculptures, to create a one-of-a-kind creation for the RitzCarlton, Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia. The sculpture, Spring Dogwood, is based on the artists’ woodland garden dogwood trees. Spring Dogwood will welcome visitors to Virginia with a representation of the state flower in a luxurious setting. The conceptualization, design and realization

of the piece took over 6 months. Spring Dogwood represents yet another approach to woven glass as the designers have incorporated negative space into the design with multiple panels of woven glass layered with multi-dimensional woven glass flowers, and narrow gaps between the glass panels designed to showcase the stained wooden walls behind the piece as the branches of the dogwood tree. Spring Dogwood incorporates a layering of more than 25 colors and perspectives with slightly smaller flowers at the top and larger flowers near the base. “We are thrilled that the Ritz-Carlton has commissioned a

sculpture of ours,” said Thom Norris. “We used a great deal of reflective glass that will glisten in the light and we hope that visitors of this esteemed hotel will find our piece a warm greeting to this beautiful state,” added Markow. “We hope guests of the hotel will appreciate the beauty of the Virginia state flower.” Spring Dogwood premiered at the RitzCarlton, Tysons Corner on January 28, 2012. To learn more about Markow & Norris or to commission your own one-of-a-kind creation, visit www.wovenglass.com.

Left: Autumn Sunset Kimono front 5.5 ft. tall with arm span of 4.5 ft. woven glass Photography by Javier Agostinelli Below: Autumn Sunset Kimono back

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BOOK REVIEW

I

Fiber Art Today by Carol K. Russell

Reviewed by: Michael Davis

nspiring and exhilarating images and informative text are showcased in this Schiffer published book titled “Fiber Art Today”. Carol K. Russell has done a wonderful job of editing this extraordinary book featuring fifty-nine Fiber Artists. Forwards by Rick Snyderman, owner and director of the Snyderman-Works Gallery in Philadelphia and Hildreth York, curator of Art and Design of the Hunterdon Art Museum, located in Clinton, New Jersey, provide a historical reflection on the field of Fiber Art as well as expose the reader to the richness and diversity within the movement today. Mr. Snyderman related well deserved praise on the curatorial role that Bruce Hoffman provided as director of the Snyderman-Works gallery, but also as a long standing proponent for all forms of Fiber/Textile Arts. Of particular note are the outstanding pieces created by NBO members, John Garrett and particularly Lanny Bergner, who brought the book to my attention. Lanny continues to experiment with industrial metals, free formed with his direct, hands-on process using only scissors for cutting mesh and pliers for connecting frayed mesh. The artists states he wishes “…to engage the viewer with glimpses into a primordial genesis which nature and industry coalesce. The work ultimately celebrates the delight, mystery and wonder of it all.” The book includes several of John’s baskets as well as wall art, and Ms. Russell states that John Garrett creates with characteristic lucidity and precision and his wall art engages the viewers with objects taken directly from the stream of life. His rhythmic, slightly varied surface structures suggest an ongoing mental process in which the physical becomes metaphysical. Additional NBO members included in the book are Nancy Koenigsberg, Ed Bing Lee, and Jóh Ricci. Also of note is the weaving of Maria Johanson from Göteborg, Sweden. Maria weaves on a specially built tapestry loom allowing two separate and distinct layers of threads, upon which to compose and orchestrates a complex three-dimensional concert of voices viewed at once in perfect harmony. Truly stunning work created by using the double weave tapestry loom with silk, nylon, fiber optics and metal threads. Acknowledging that a survey of this kind cannot feature all the important artists working in the field today, numerous notable artists are not featured in this book. However, this publication is a definitely a keeper with first class documentation of numerous world renowned artists. One would be remiss to not include this in their collection of Fiber/ Textile related books.

Flown West: Jan Peters

By David Peters

J

an Peters, co-founder and director of del Mano Gallery in Los Angeles, passed away December 5th after a 12 year battle with ovarian cancer. Jan was a champion of the “unter kunstler”, a street artist herself she and her business partner Ray Leier founded del Mano Gallery in 1973 as a place where craft artists could show and sell their work. This developed into a selfless endeavor that spanned almost 4 decades promoting and developing craft artists into fine artists and their work into a fine art gallery accepted medium. Jan had a keen sense and a nurturing way when it came to new artists often giving them the support and push needed to get their work off the sidewalk and onto the gallery pedestal and into the collector’s hands. She had a similar relationship with collectors and curators, educating and exposing them to new artists, nudging them to new directions. Jan was instrumental in placing many pieces of fine studio craft work into major collections and museums around the world including the White House collection and the Smithsonian. She co-authored 3 major books on contemporary Wood, Glass and Baskets. She authored numerous catalogs documenting the page 8

evolution of the studio craft medium and was an in demand lecturer and juror on craft media and the business of being a fine craft artist. Jan Peters served on the board of the Collectors of Wood Art, The National Basketry Organization, the Los Angeles Glass Alliance, Jan was a Caucus Member of the James Renwick Alliance, and was instrumental in supporting the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) from it’s inception. Jan touched many lives in different and diverse worlds. Jan served on the Board of the Venice Boy’s and Girls Club and was named Volunteer of the Year at the National Air Races in Reno Nevada in 2001. She was an active supporter of vintage aviation and along with her husband, crewed on a B-25 Mitchell, a restored and flying WWII bomber. Jan Peters is survived by David Peters, her husband of 30 years, and her sister Dale Gluckman. Donations in her memory can be made to CERF+, P.O. Box 838 Montpelier, VT 05601; phone (802) 229-2306 or www.craftemergency.org. For online donations please note it is in memory of Jan Peters. Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


Susan working Photo provided by Susan Dugan

Fe a t u r ed Artists

Three generations of Cherokee basketmakers. Photography credit: J Adams

The Family of Geraldine Walkingstick, Mary W. Thompson and Sarah Thompson G e n e r at i o n a l B a s k e t m a k e r s o f t h e C h e r o k e e Written by: Michael Davis

O

n a steamy summer day last summer, fellow Board member Jo Stealey and I drove to Cherokee, North Carolina to interview Geraldine Walkingstick, her daughter Mary Thompson and Mary’s daughter Sarah.  My first stop was the home place of Geraldine.  As we were driving we were struck by the awesome grandeur of cloud tipped mountains and a cacophony of water sounds; creeks, rivers, rapids and waterfalls.  The environment envelopes you and one understands the reverence placed on these lands by the Cherokee.  Geraldine lives in a lush canopy of trees in a vacation trailer park/camping cabins site located alongside a rushing river named Ravens Fork which is teeming with trout.  This gorgeous spot in the great Smokey Mountains was left to Geraldine by her husband, John Welch when he passed away in 1968.  Devastated by her husband’s

unexpected death she knew that the responsibility for her eight children was now solely in her hands.  During this period in time there were no food stamps, food banks or financial assistance and her situation was becoming increasingly overwhelming with so many children to care for.  Her mother-in-law, Annie Powell Welch, realized the dilemma that Geraldine and the children were in and wanted to assist in putting food on their table.  Although Ms. Welch had no money to offer, she did have the skill of making baskets and was willing to teach Geraldine how to make baskets. Once a basket sold, Geraldine would then share the money with Annie. It was common place to see Geraldine headed for the woods with an axe in hand to a stand of white oak trees in which she would select a tree, cut it down and drag it home Continued on next page

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with the assistance of one of the children.  Once home, she would bust it up and find that on many occasions the tree was unable to supply needed splints and had to be used for fire wood. Her search was not complete until she found that perfect white oak tree with no low lying limbs and a tall, straight trunk that would enable her to make good splints to create material for basketry.  Years passed and Geraldine honed her skills and sold thousands of white oak and honeysuckle baskets.  Although she needed the income from the baskets to raise her family, it was just as important that she continued her tribe’s basketmaking traditions and her family’s trademark designs. Every Cherokee basketmaking family has distinctive creative techniques and in studying different families work there are criteria of weaving which reveal each family’s unique style. Nine years ago Geraldine and her daughter, Mary Thompson and Mary’s daughter Sarah decided to study double weave river cane basketry under the tutelage of Ramona and Lucille Lossiah.  Today the Cherokee high school students are blessed to have them both as instructors in their high school. They are teaching them how to make river cane baskets which includes the tedious and time consuming process of preparing the cane.  Although there are other generational families of basketmakers the Thompson and Walkingstick families learned how to make double weave basketry, which made the family unique as makers.  Just a few years ago the double weave was almost extinct in Cherokee and the Lossiah sisters have played a defining role in passing on this difficult technique. The next stop in our day was at the home of Mary Thompson and it too is located in a vegetative labyrinth with water gurgling in a creek beside her house.  The home has an over sized deck where the family works and grandchildren play and are an integral part of a visit to the Thompson household.  These children are raised around baskets and basketry material so the familiarity of basketry is stamped into yet another generation of the family.  Mary was the second of eight children and her father died on her twelfth birthday.  Anxious to find work the family moved away from Cherokee to a mill town in 1971.  Mary returned home to Cherokee in 1974 and the family followed in 1976. Mary joined the U.S. Air Force in 1977, a sister and a

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Top: Rivercane Singleweave Basket by Geraldine Walkingstick 10.5” x 5.5” x 8” white oak handle, river cane, black walnut and blood root dyes Photography by Rand & Rawson Middle: Double weave, oblong by Mary W. Thompson 6” x 6” x 10” rivercane splints, dyed with butternut and blood root dyes, arrrowhead design. Photography by Mary W. Thompson Bottom: Untitled by Sarah Thompson 8.5” x 5” river cane, black walnut and blood root dyes Photography by Rand & Rawson

Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


brother joined the Army, and another brother joined the Navy and worked on submarines.  Mary lived in California for several years and returned to Cherokee in 1984 and married Clarence David Thompson in 1989.  Dave was a backwoods ranger for the Cheoah Forest Service. Tragically history repeated itself when her husband was killed in a car crash while returning home from work in Robbinsville, North Carolina. Crushed by this tragedy and with three small children to raise, Mary had her own angst and sorrow but realized that her mother had raised eight children on her own, and knew that she had to do the same. Mary worked as a construction equipment operator for awhile and was mostly self-employed.  She was elected to four terms in the legislative branch of the Cherokee Tribal Government.  Today Ms. Thompson enjoys time with her grandchildren, gardening which includes wild traditional Cherokee foods, and making baskets.  Mary continues to serve on local and national boards and volunteers within the community.  Mostly, she enjoys her time making baskets with her family, even though they may have to drive six hours to harvest good river cane.  Finding weaving material is a serious concern for the Cherokee as the areas with the cane have diminished.  The white oak trees are dying off and unfortunately there is no diagnosis as to why this is occurring.  Ms. Thompson states, “We have driven to Kentucky, Georgia, and all over western North Carolina - it is always a good trip!”  Mary and her daughter Sarah, her basketmaking sister Betty Maney, and sometimes her brothers, go to get good cane.  They take a lunch and try to harvest enough cane to last a few months.  A truck bed with 200 – 300 stalks will take several weeks to work up, averaging 8 splints per stalk.  Mary states, “we split, quarter, eighth the stalk, strip the outer surface, trim and scrape the splints and then dye the splints, with bloodroot and butternut root.”

From Top to Bottom: Geraldine Walkingstick, Mary W. Thompson, Sarah Thompson at the Cherokee Fair.

www.nationalbasketry.org • Winter 2012

Mary notes that weaving the basket is the fun part.  Once the handles, rims and splints are prepared it is time to dye the prepared material.   “I try to get splints from the same dye batch so the colors are consistent.  We trim the splints to the same width.”  She says that when she starts weaving she gets lost in it and loses track of time and almost forgets to eat and unknowingly lets the home fire go out. She becomes engrossed in watching her design and the shape of the basket, as the river cane slides around.  She constantly packs her splints, trying to keep them Continued on next page

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Lossiah sisters.  She too has created award winning baskets and cherishes the family connection of making baskets together.  She is proud of her mother and particularly her grandmother who continues to create original, innovative designs in white oak and river cane.  As a young mother she has her hands full but still manages to attend college courses, work more than one job, and make stunning basketry.

Left: Miniature White Oak Basket by Betty Maney (Mary’s sister) 1.5” x 1” x 1.5” White oak, black walnut and blood root dyes Photography by Rand and Rawson

Right: Little Wastepaper Basket by Betty Maney (Mary’s sister) 2” x 0.875” White oak, black walnut and blood root dyes Photography by Rand and Rawson

It is clear that Geraldine and Mary are strong, resilient and creative women who serve as grand role models for Sarah who is following in their footsteps.  This family does not singularly promote themselves but promotes their entire basketmaking family.  NBO was honored to have them share their skill of double weave basketry at our recent conference at Stonehill College.  Also, they donated a double weave basket for the auction which brought in a large sum for the scholarship fund.  I thank them for sharing their skills and knowledge and hope

good and tight.  Obsessed with finishing a basket she will work late into the night.  When she finally finishes the basket, she is like her mom, admiring it from every angle.  Mary is glad she doesn’t have to sell her baskets immediately like her mother used to do and sometimes holds onto a finished basket for months.  She feels responsible for her baskets and tries to place them in good homes. Mary is also known for her beautiful river cane mats.  Once used for room dividers and for sleeping on, today many are matted and framed and sold for home decor.  She also dabbles in customized frames which look better than store bought mats and frames.  For extra income Mary creates pottery and sells home canning products.  Mary and her sister Betty are two of the fifteen founding members of the Cherokee Potters Guild, Museum of the Cherokee Indians.  Her farm business, “Recovering Traditional Cherokee Delicacies,” is a family business.  They sell jams and jellies in gift sets (value added farm products), and wild greens which are pressure cooked or dehydrated. Ms. Thompson says, “It was different for mom as she made baskets for a living to feed her family even though they were sold as trinkets to tourists who came across the Blue Ridge Parkway to see Indians.  You know about marketing – you sell what people want to buy.  Local shops even put up teepees, named their shops with titles such as Papoose, and Buck and Squaw.  Today it makes me happy to see our people receiving fair compensation and taking pride in their art, culture and heritage.” As mentioned earlier, Mary’s daughter Sarah Thompson learned to make river cane baskets when her mom and grandmother learned the double weave with the

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Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


that they will continue to be a part of NBO activities in the future. In closing, I can hear Geraldine saying, “When my shoulders hurt I just put a pain patch on ‘em and keep on a working……..I get up with baskets on my mind…..and I go to bed with baskets on my mind”. Indeed, how fortunate that we have this exceptional basketry to look forward to in the years to come from this talented family. Feel free to email Mary W. Thompson for more information at: marythom@nc-cherokee.com or, their work is available at the Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual in Cherokee, North Carolina.

NBO has created a documentary DVD produced by Michael Davis and Jo Stealey, directed by Colin Levaute, titled “On the Boundary”.  It is the story of two Generational Cherokee Basketmaking families, The Goings and the WalkingstickThompson families.  It is a historical account of their generational basketry.  This DVD will be available for purchase in the near future on the NBO website or by contacting our office.

Large (middle): An array of family baskets and mats, including Mary’s pottery Photography by Mary W. Thompson Small: Mats by Mary W. Thompson approx. 7.5” x 8.5” unframed rivercane splints, dyed with butternut and blood root dyes. Photography by Mary W. Thompson

Summer 2011 - Jo Stealey, Colin LeVaute, Michael Davis, Peter LaVaute The DVD Video film crew departing for Cherokee

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“Basketry as art is our main focus.”

Joanne Segal Brandford by: Catherine K. Hunter, Museum and Education Consultant At the NBO Conference in August, keynote speaker Lissa Hunter encouraged the NBO community -- locally, nationally, individually -- to create exhibits and publications that document our history. The contemporary basketry field is very young, a post World War II development that has not been communicated in a broad way. Lissa cited The Basketmaker’s Art (1989) featuring 26 outstanding artists who were leaders of the fiber movement. Of the group, five have died: Ed Rossbach, Lillian Elliott, Joanne Segal Brandford, Doug Fuchs and Shereen LaPlantz. As a friend of Joanne’s from the 1970s to 1990s, I volunteered to write an article about her remarkable career as an artist, scholar, and teacher because her work and words are relevant today. You will hear Joanne’s voice as I include excerpts from her publications and our correspondence.

1970’s... Ed Rossbach published Baskets as Textile Art (1973) when the concept of “baskets as art” was a revolutionary idea! The term “fiber art” was introduced to acknowledge new art forms. In The New Basketry (1976), Rossbach described the trend of weavers becoming basket makers. As weavers were introduced to traditional basket materials, they adopted the new materials; as weavers discovered ancient pre-industrial techniques, they were liberated to experiment with off-loom techniques. Individual artists began a movement that would be sustained by galleries, patrons and hundreds of basketmakers. Joanne studied Decorative Arts (BA 1955) and Design (MA 1967) at the University of California, Berkeley. Her studies included costume and textile history, anthropology and textile analysis; in the studio she experimented with weaving, ikat and silk-screen. Her work was selected for the traveling show “The Dyer’s Art: Ikat, Batik, Plangi” (Museum of Contemporary Crafts, NY, 1976). Moving to Cambridge, 1969-1977, Joanne pursued art and scholarship. She taught textile printing, costume and textile history

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at Mass College of Art; Textile Traditions of Native America at Radcliffe Seminars; Textile History at Rhode Island School of Design; and she was named a Research Fellow in Textile Art at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, Harvard University. A sampling of her lecture and publication topics included silk weavings of Northeast Thailand, Iron Age textile fragments from Yugoslavia, North American baskets, nets and Saltillo serapes. At the Cambridge Adult Education Center, Joanne was my first textile history teacher and changed my life. I was passionate about textiles and needed direction. My experience included a degree in Art History from Cornell University (where I learned to weave), weaving workshops at Haystack (Assistant to Theo Moorman) and a project as Educational Consultant for TOIKA looms in Finland. Joanne arranged for me to volunteer with textile collections at the Peabody Museum. Soon thereafter my museum career began at the Department of Textiles, Museum of Fine Arts. Eventually I gave up my looms to study baskets. Joanne was curator for “The North American Basket 1790-1976” at the Craft Center in Worcester. In the catalog Joanne simply states: “Basketry as art is our main focus.”

She enthusiastically describes diversity within traditions of Native America and Old World immigrants, and eclecticism amongst contemporary artists. In one paragraph, Joanne intuitively responds to the expressive nature of the baskets; one can only wonder if she is describing Native American, Old World, or contemporary baskets: Here baskets are gigantic, minuscule, soft, stiff, globular, flat, cylindrical, sturdy, delicate, dense, lace like, sparkling, matte, slim, voluptuous, slick, shaggy, stolid, soaring, squat, buoyant...and more... In the catalog Joanne also presents themes that communicate the University of California educational philosophy: baskets are complex objects beyond their techniques. Baskets are essential crafts rooted in communities where there were collective standards technically and aesthetically. Although made by anonymous artists, baskets communicate social or spiritual value within a community. Baskets have historical and ethnographic importance beyond function. Furthermore, baskets reflect complex social and trade relationships that were local, regional and national. In other words, tradition in baskets is not static!

Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


1980’s... Joanne lived in Ithaca, NY, 1977-85. In 1980 she was Artist in Residence at Fiberworks, Berkeley, CA. She continued to have one foot in the studio and one foot in the museum! There were four important scholarly projects: curator for “Our Shining Heritage: Textile Art of the Slavs and their Neighbors,” an exhibition of 180 textiles and costumes at the Roberson Art Center, Binghamton, NY, 1980-81; curator for the exhibition/catalog “From the tree where the bark grows - North American Basket Treasures from the Peabody Museum, Harvard University,” 1981-84; Research Associate for Cornell Costume Collection, 1982-84; and Visiting Specialist to catalog 400 baskets at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, 1984. For the catalog/exhibit “From the tree where the bark grows - North American Basket Treasures for the Peabody Museum, Harvard University” (1984), Joanne selected 61 baskets from a collection of nearly 3000 specimens. The exhibit title is taken from Daniel Gookin’s observations on the beauty, diversity and utility of native baskets, as published in “Historical Collections of the Indians in New England” (1674): From the tree where the bark grows, they made several sorts of baskets, great and small....In their baskets they put their provisions. Some...are made of rushes: some, of bents: others of maize husks: others of a kind of wild hemp; and some of barks of trees: many of them, very neat and artificial [meaning skillful or artful], with the portraitures of birds, beasts, fishes, and flowers upon them in colours... The baskets...are always made by their women. Joanne was especially honored to be Basketmaker-in-Residence at the Manchester Polytechnic, England, 1986/87. England’s basket tradition was apprenticeship with agrarian or industrial roots; basketry studies in school dated to the last quarter of the 20th century. Author Merrell Holberton, in Contemporary International Basketmaking (1999), acknowledges the start of the new basketry in North American, led by Ed Rossbach. She mentions influential American artists including Joanne (“softly formed, netted images of baskets”), Lillian Elliott, Pat Hickman, John Garrett, and Lissa Hunter. Here are excerpts from our correspondence about Joanne’s experience in England, her first experience living abroad: The school is quite interesting as is the entire context of “crafts” in England. So very different from US...The emphasis at

the school is embroidery, a really serious field for these people. The history of English needlework seems to be unique, as background to the activities of my colleagues here. I’ve been reading and pouring over the literature on it, but it’s too much for me to comprehend, what with learning the English coins and carefully crossing streets the “right” way! There is a show of my work planned here, at an extremely fashionable art gallery in town. It will be very important for my colleagues at school, for this to be a good, triumphant, classy show. For them it means a certain rise in status within the school. I feel somewhat pressured, quite naturally! I’ve begun to consider the magnificent knitting and embroidery machines. Maybe they can help. I think I’ll take a look tomorrow...Well, to the sounds of the BBC 4th program I’ll sign off... PS English humor is marvelous! So tongue-incheek. Remarkable, really! Joanne wrote the following Artist Statement in January 1989 for a solo show at the San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum. She described the evolution of her work with nets and more about her experience in England :

ABOUT THE NETS... Intrigued by their structural variety and the ways they can create and mediate space, I made my first nets about twenty years ago. I studied traditional nets such as laces and other looped structures, and was deeply inspired by the netted works of my colleagues and students. Working with suspended nets encouraged my interest in space and light. I have used nearly transparent materials to explore these ideas and some of my nets have teetered on the edge of invisibility. In 1987 I completed a cloud-like net which is as large as a room. I’d like to make several more and hang them together, weightless, evanescent and subtly luminous.

ABOUT THE BASKETS... Thinking about them as nets standing up on their own. I started making baskets in 1978. They were assertive and distinctly threedimensional compared to the soft hanging nets. To my mind, these standing-up nets were baskets in name only. They were images of baskets, so to speak. Real baskets were well defined objects made by traditional or contemporary basketmakers whose knowledge, artistry and intent were unquestioned.

I never used traditional basket making techniques, feeling that these ways of working belonged to others. This was a curiously conservative attitude which was at one limiting (I didn’t give myself permission to make baskets) and liberating (but I could make basket-like nets and call them “baskets”). In 1986 I was “Basketmaker-in-Residence” for a year at a college in England, and I found myself (a “Basketmaker” ) in a place where specific traditional forms and precise techniques for reproducing them were the accepted standards. In that context I had to reevaluate my own work, and eventually I understood that my baskets were part of a tradition too. This of course was the new basket tradition which has been growing (in the United States) since the late 1960s. By sharing with me their solid, secure tradition, my English colleagues and students helped me to find my own. Accepting myself as a basketmaker, I started to make pieces which were more like baskets. This is not to say that I tackled traditional forms, functions, materials, or techniques. Rather, my baskets now conveyed a certain tautness and they became more convincing in their expression of volume. That was the beginning. I look forward to my basket making with a heightened awareness of what is possible, not only for others but for me. In March 1988, she wrote “It has been a little rough coming back from England to ‘regular life’ here. The residency was a unique and privileged time...I had a wonderful time....” and more about a net in progress: Today I spent time on an interminable knotless net. I am moving on it so slowly, about an inch a day, so in 20 days only 20 inches! It is beginning to be very tiresome, yet I really want it to be...at least another 20”; ideally 60” high. I am using beautiful undegummed silk from Thailand, beautifully golden. Anyway that’s what I’m doing at the moment. Joanne was both research historian and exhibiting artist for a spectacular exhibit “Knots and Nets” at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, July 1988. At that time, she finally decided to give up her work as scholar, due to health issues, and committed completely to her studio work. Her Artist Statement from the catalog follows: Twenty years ago I became intrigued by certain similarities between the structures and techniques of traditional baskets and those of netted laces, and at that time I began to make nets. Initially I was inspired by the beautifully patterned knotless netted

Continued on next page

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bags of South America as well as European needle-made laces, but as I became aware of the variety and strength of traditional netting throughout the world, I felt encouraged to continue and expand my own explorations. Netting techniques themselves are fairly direct and easy to comprehend mentally; yet, like any other medium (or language), netting has its own expressive capabilities. Its units (or phonemes) are interlacements, linear elements, and spatial relationships; those are in turn manipulated through material, which has its own possibilities and limitations. I try to find my own voice through this visual and kinetic net “language.” Recently I have explored ideas of openess/closedness and of spatial substance (real/not real), has been of particular interest. I am reminded of a visit to Ithaca in June 1989 to help Joanne hang monofilament nets at a gallery in Ithaca. They looked like condensation or frost or some form of water that was airborne and nearly invisible except for the shadows. Joanne asked “Do you know who buys these?” and answered, “The scientists who understand elegant and invisible structures...“ A sampling of Joanne’s extensive exhibit schedule included the IV Textile Triennale, Poland; Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Cooper-Hewitt Museum, NY; Solo show at Cornerstone Gallery, Manchester, England; Knots and Nets, Johnson Museum, Ithaca, NY; Solo show at San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum; and Solo shows at the Amos Eno Gallery, NY.

1990’s... Joanne’s nets and sculptural forms were made by interlacing, knotting, and twining of primarily natural materials, sometimes dyed. Here she wrote about a student from England and a new work in progress: A student who worked with me in Manchester has just written to tell me about her final year project: “....‘Growing Baskets’ I have been experimenting with willow baskets which I made using freshly cut willow and then float them on water. Where the basket is submersed, tiny white roots begin to grow above the water, leaves begin to sprout.” She has also made baskets and ‘basketwork structures’ and floated them in ponds, rivers streams,etc., intending to record root and leaf growth through photos. I am so pleased to know of his development from my residency! I completed a large and very beautiful basket. I made it in a sprang construction--all enclosed--no top, side, or bottom openings. I loved working out the structural method and after a struggle, I loved the finished piece. I call it “Mother Basket” because it is so big (26 1/2” across, which is big for me), and I remembered there was, in Tlingit lore, a big, berry-gathering basket saved for generations, called (I thought) Mother Basket. I looked it up recently and discovered that the translation was “Basket Mother.”

page 16

Joanne was honored as a Fellow by the New York Foundation for the Arts (1990) and built a handsome studio adjacent to her home. She was thrilled to have light, a designated dyeing area and space! I was amazed to see that she had devised a method of creating sprang structures on a LeClerc loom without a reed or heddles. A collection of woven fragments on one counter caught my eye; she had duplicated ancient Peruvian weavings, and we laughed to imagine they would confuse an inexperienced museum curator! In 1993 Joanne’s work was included in BASKETS: Redefining Volume and Meaning (Pat Hickman, Curator) at the University of Hawaii. Joanne’s Artist Statement from the catalog follows: My concerns are: balance, openness, integrity, light, space, gravity. I work to continue and extend basket tradition. I do not copy the old baskets, neither do I use traditional techniques and materials; rather, I explore this form, this idea, and push it as far as I can. There is no aspect of the tradition which is uninteresting to me; my work is informed and enriched by the strength, sensitivity, diversity and generosity of basket makers of all times, including our own. Baskets are often linked to domesticity and smallness, the implication being that these qualities preclude significant art work. I could counter with basket shrines made for ritual, or I could point to house-sized baskets (used, indeed, as houses) and so I could ‘elevate’ baskets with religious significance or architectural scale. But all such uses/meanings refer to our humanity, and consequently to ourselves and to our families, to life and to death. What can be more meaningful for an artist working in fiber, than to honor the basket, with its myriad human associations. Joanne died the spring of 1994.

2000’s... Recognition of Joanne’s impact and relevance to the fiber community continues today as her name was added to The Brandford/Elliott Award for Excellence in Fiber Art designated for emerging artists working with fiber. The award is presented biennially at the Symposium of the Textile Society of America. http://brandford-elliott-award.com/ The Brandford/Elliott Award http://textilesociety.org/ Textile Society of America

Photo Credits

page 14 right: Reclining Figure (1992)

page 14 left: Untitled Net (1987)

Dimensions: 21” x 60” x 32” rattan Photography by Joanne Brandford

Dimensions: 6’ x 11’ x 6.5’ nylon and polyester Photography by Joanne Brandford

page 16 top: Scaffold (1982)

page 14 center: Icarus’ Wing (1991) Dimensions: 10.5” x 30.5” x 19’” rattan, pandanus, and steel Photography by Joanne Brandford

Dimensions: 9.5” x 13” silk Photography by Joanne Brandford

Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


Book Review

Reviewed by: Jo Stealey

Stimulus: Art and Its Inception, 2011 Essay by: Jane Milosch

W

hat fires the artist’s creative engine and the imagination of the viewer? How did the germ of an idea come about, and how did it evolve? If you ponder these questions and you are looking for a fresh source of inspiration from some of your favorite contemporary basketmakers and fiber artists, the recently published Stimulus: Art and Its Inception is the next book to add to your collection. The exhibition curated by Tom Grotta of Brown Grotta Gallery and accompanying catalogue, features the work of 55 artists from 14 countries. More than half of the artists featured have been long associated with the contemporary basketry movement. The list includes many of our heroes: Nancy Koenigsberg, Dona Anderson, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Gyöngy Laky, Judy Mulford, John McQueen, Christine Joy, Karyl Sisson, to name a few. The catalogue features an introductory essay by Jane Milosch, Director, Provenance Research Initiative and former Curator of the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. She provides a provocative perspective to consider the artists’ source of inspiration, resulting pieces and their explanation of the process or relation between the two. Milosch thematically contextualizes the artists’ sources of inspiration as culturally derived objects, people connected with past civilizations, earlier works of art, personal experiences, historical events, poetry, popular culture and critical study of gender and the art-making process itself. This broad range provides fodder for readers to examine their own sources of inspiration. It is apparent from the work included that most of the artists work in fiber, and the natural world served as the over arching conceptual and formal base for many of the works shown. The artists poetically embody images, patterns, designs, surfaces textures and colors from the natural world. Flowers, plants, trees, pods, roots, shells, feathers, animals, sand, moss rocks, water and landscape have been physically transformed or interpreted into new works of art.

NEW 2 0 12 CHALLENGE GRANT $75,000 Current total: $17,444

HALF WAY THERE!

All participating artists were asked to make the manner in which they meld method and concept explicit. This was accomplished by juxtaposing the recent work along side the object that stimulated the work. The accompanying statements by each of the artists relate personal stories about the development of a piece, although some of the descriptions are more explicit and poetic than others. Overall, I found the featured work and inspirational source intriguing and thoroughly enjoyed the thoughts of the artists. If you are a fan of BrownGrotta Arts exhibition catalogues, you will want to add this 40th publication to your collection. Photography and Design by: Tom Grotta ISBN: 1-930230-40-0 Publisher: Browngrotta Arts • www.browngrotta.com

www.nationalbasketry.org • Winter 2012

Donations are greatly appreciated. Help NBO reach our fund raising milestone once we achieve the halfway mark, we receive half of the Challenge Grant.

Thank you! page 17


American Beauty 14” x 13.5” x 13” pine needles and raffia Photography by Rand & Rawson

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Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


C

arl Watson is a very senior member of the basket making fraternity in both years and achievements. Carl was born in a farming community in the mid-west and was the third of four brothers. His mother was a school teacher in a one-room school, so he got more than his share of supervision and expectation. He did many things in his life, but the high spots are as follows. Before WW ll by a circuitous route, Carl became a street car driver in Washington, DC. Like millions of other young men, when the United States joined the war, Carl entered the U.S. Army. After training at several locations in Anti-Aircraft Artillery, he was sent to Australia, having the distinction of spending 40 unbroken days aboard the Queen Mary which had been modified to be a troop carrier. Carl, along with twelve thousand other personnel, traveled 19,000 miles, never knowing if or when the enemy would find them. Duty in Australia had its own excitement, but then the island hopping began and Carl made a very direct and personal contribution to the war effort in the Pacific. After the war, Carl returned to Washington and to the street car business, working his way into supervisory positions. A new business opportunity became available in which Carl felt he could be rewarded more in keeping with his abilities and

the dedication and effort he was willing to give to the job. He took a job delivering bread - but with the opportunity to expand his route to the extent he could. Over the course of several years, Carl expanded routes and had them then assigned to others while he was given new ones to develop. This process ended with Carl having only one customer - the biggest one on the east Coast. Carl retired in 1977 and bought a motor home. He and his wife, Doris, spent winters in Florida and summers in the North Carolina mountains and otherwise toured widely. While touring locally in North Carolina in 1978 they happened upon some Pine Needle baskets and were enchanted with their beauty and the fineness of the detail. They became devoted, self-taught masters of the craft, and their skills developed their craft into an art form. They built and maintained an inventory of fifty

Featured Artist: Carl Watson

written by Steve Hembree

Basket with Lid 6” x 5” x 5” pine needles and raffia Photography by Rand & Rawson

Continued on next page www.nationalbasketry.org • Winter 2012

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to sixty baskets and sold them to gift shops and at craft shows. Doris passed away in 1998. Basket making helped sustain Carl through his grief, and he continued on. Since he had acquired a summer home a few miles from the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina, he sought a teaching position there. No one was teaching the art and craft of Pine Needle Basket making. Previous commitments of class room space and to teachers of other crafts made it impossible for them to employ him immediately, and it would have been two years until they could develop a faculty position and space for him. But, they were very glad to have his baskets in their craft shop where they can be purchased. ln 2005 Carl became a member of the Venetian Society of Basket Weavers in Venice, Florida, near his winter home. He entered baskets in their Fiber Arts Shows and

took blue ribbons two out of three years and a “people’s choice” ribbon the third year. Back at his summer home in western North Carolina, Carl placed an entry in 2010 in the Silver Arts part of the North Carolina Senior Games in Murphy, North Carolina. He took a gold medal and the plaque for Best in Show. Carl’s baskets (some done jointly with Doris) are in collections in England, Australia, Canada, and in many places within the United States. He has taught basket making to numerous students over the years and is currently teaching the craft to senior citizens for therapy. Carl is now ninety-five years old. He still drives and maintains an independent, active life, residing in an apartment in Port Charlotte, Florida. And, he is still making baskets, including getting out and picking up his own pine needles.

Left: Basket with Flowered Lid 5” x 8” pine needles and raffia Photography by Randy Waak Middle: Sunburst Tray 4” x 10” pine needles and raffia Photography by Randy Waak Right: Untitled 4” x 10” pine needles and raffia Photography by Randy Waak

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Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


Carl Watson - Questions Carl have you developed your own design? Do you sketch them out or do you work from what is in your head? I work from what is in my head. Many times when I am making a basket, I may decide to make a change as I did with the last basket I was working on and I added a lid with a dome handle. Where do get your materials and what type of pine needles do you use? I harvest my pine needles here in central Florida and use ponderosa, scrub and white pine. There is reforestation being done with the slow growing southern long leaf pine as they contain more resin and less likely to be attacked by termites. I know many basketmakers lacquer their baskets and some don’t. What do you use on your baskets? I use polyurethane as it stiffens the basket and makes it sturdier and easier to clean. It enhances the colors between the raffia and the pine needles. You have a trademark design element. What is it? Please explain. I start with a ring in the center and weave with raffia to make a bird design inside the ring. I had never seen a bird made like this and I wanted a signature for my baskets. Has anyone ever influenced your work? Not really, my wife saw a woman making a basket at a festival one day and returned to me with a ring, some raffia and pine needles. Once we returned home, she made a basket and it wasn’t long before I had all the materials in front of me and I was half way through making it before my wife noticed. So we were both self taught.

Wall Clock Dimensions: 36” x 18” X 3” pine needles, raffia, and brass Photography by Randy Waak

Are there any baskets that you haven’t made yet, and if so what are they? No, as I make as many as 50 or 60 varieties and have made over a thousand baskets, and am still designing original pieces. My wife could pick up my basket, or I could pick up hers, and continue weaving and you could not tell the difference between the two. Most basketmakers enjoy a great deal of solitude. What are your thoughts while making and how do you feel about your alone time? When my wife of twenty years died in 1998 I was very lonely, but, I had my basketry. When I make my baskets I enjoy my alone time as it gives me time to concentrate and I do not like to be disturbed. When not making baskets, I enjoy going out to lunch and dinner with friends. Other than baskets, what have you made out of pine needles? I have made free standing and wall clocks as well as lamps.

Carl, keep up the great work! You’re an inspiration to all of us! Michael Davis

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Photography by: © Cynthia W. Taylor

written by: Michael Davis

W I N N E R A W A R D

Aaron Yakim

F E L L O W S U S A

Boaty, #3-07 (2007) 12” x 8” x 8” Hand-split white oak Photography by: © Robert Batey Photography

page 22

U

SA Fellowships were launched by United States Artists (USA), the national grant-making and advocacy organization, with generous support from the Ford, Rockefeller, Prudential, and Rasmuson Foundations. They state, “Our mission is to invest in America’s finest artists and illuminate the value of artists to society. We believe that imagination and the will to express it artfully is key to the vitality of our society now and in the future. Since our inaugural year of 2006, we have awarded $15 million to 317 artists (including collaboratives) working across the country and in virtually every artistic field.” Early in the year they asked distinguished members of the national arts community to each nominate artists who, in their judgment, demonstrate extraordinary talent and commitment to their craft. Nominators were given the freedom to consider artists at any point in their careers. The nominees, a small group of artists from around the country, are invited to apply for a $50,000 unrestricted fellowship award. USA Fellows are free to spend the funds any way they see fit, but it is hoped that the grants will enable artists to pursue their creative work more freely. United States Artists (USA) granted 50 such fellowships in 2011. Panels of experts and practitioners from each field review the applications. Each panel makes final recommendations to the USA Board of Directors, which selects the USA Fellows. Awards are given to artists


in various disciplines including: Architecture and Design, Crafts and Traditional Arts, Dance, Literature, Media, Music, Theater Arts and Visual Arts. Excellence in ones work is the paramount consideration for the jury. USA Fellowships recognize and celebrate extraordinary artistic vision and are meant to provide an artist time to focus on his/her work. The potential impact of the award on an artist’s creative work is also strongly considered. USA Fellows for 2011 were announced in December at an awards event in Los Angeles. Aaron Yakim was named USA Ford Fellow in Crafts and Traditional Arts for his excellence in basketry.

Aaron states, “I make hand-split white oak baskets directly from the tree with hand tools, in the tradition of the central and southern Appalachian mountain region. In 1979, fifth generation basketmaker Oral “Nick” Nicholson of West Virginia introduced me to this regional craft. The strength and flexibility of white oak, lends itself to crafting a wide variety of dynamic shapes with flowing lines created by the wrapping, weaving, and technical ribbing methods. The simplicity of the basic techniques and the freedom to process my own natural material are appealing to me. Focusing narrowly on traditional methods allow me to explore their limits. The tree to basket process is what interests me. Executing each step better with each project Continued on page 26

Harvesting photos: 1. Felling the tree (on pg. 22, top) 2. Hauling the log out of the woods 3. Splitting the log with wedges and sledge hammer 4. Splitting into smaller sections with the froe Photography by: © Cynthia W. Taylor Coal Basket, #1-08 (2008) 15” x 19” x 8” Hand-split white oak Photography by: Nikki Josheff Credit: Permanent Collection of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Asheville, NC

Purse, #2-02 (2002) 10” x 9” x 7.5” Hand-split white oak Photography by: © Robert Batey

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CALENDAROFEVENTS Conferences & Retreats February 24 - 26, 2012 Wildwood Basketry Guild Winter Weave Wildwood Cultural Center, Mentor, OH www.winterweave.com ~ (330) 562-1903 March 1 - 3, 2012 Woven Together in Western Kentucky Rough River Dam State Park, KY www.wtwky.shutterfly.com ~ (270) 256-2162 March 14 - 18, 2012 Northwest Basket Weavers Vi Phillips Guild Spring Retreat Pilgrim Firs Conference Center, Port Orchard, WA www.nwbasketweavers.org ~ (425) 271-0647 March 15 - 18, 2012 NCBA 2012 Convention “THE WOVEN JOURNEY” Sheraton Imperial Hotel - Durham, NC www.ncbasketmakers.com ~ (252) 792-4301 March 23 - 24, 2012 Land of Lincoln Basketweavers Spring Fling Greater Rockton Center, Rockton, IL www.llbwa.com ~ (815) 732-7181 March 30 - April 1, 2012 Surface Design Association Conference Identity: Context & Reflection 2012 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania www.surfacedesign.org ~ (214) 772-6851 March 30 - April 1, 2012 Los Angeles Basketry Guild Retreat Camp Stevens, Julian, CA www.labasketryguild.org ~ (310) 490-3737 April 13 - 15, 2012 Ozark Basketry Spring Retreat Big Springs Lodge, Van Buren, MO www.jchoatebasketry.com ~ (573) 251 3648 April 19 - 21, 2012 Stateline Friends Weaving Retreat Kuhlman Center, North Richmond, IN www.statelinefriends.com ~ (937) 456-6067

NBO QUARTERLY REVIEW

SUBMISSION DEADLINES Spring - March 1 Summer - June 1 Fall - September 1 Winter - November 15 page 24

April 21 - 22, 2012 Baskets and Gourds Containers of our Culture Mill Creek Conference Center, Visalia, CA www.calgourd.com ~ (559) 627-5430 May 3 - 5, 2012 Lake Country Basket Guild Basket Fest 2012 Excellence Center-Waukesha, WI www.lakecountrybasketguild.com Sally Turner ~ (262) 544-5512 May 18 - 20, 2012 Tradition / Innovation Fiber Artisans Conference Conference of Northern California Handweavers Oakland Convention Center, Oakland, CA www.cnch.org May 18 - 20, 2012 Ky Gourd Society 18th Annual Gourd Art Show www.kygourdsociety.org ~ (502) 463-2484 June 1 - 3, 2012 Willow Weekend 2012 Entiat, WA ~ 509-784-1877 www.dunbargardens.com/willow_weekend_2012.pdf June 4 - 10, 2012 Stowe Basketry Festival Round Hearth at Stowe, VT www.roundhearth.com ~ (800) 344-1546 June 11, 2012 Starved Rock Weaving Day Starved Rock State Park, Utica, IL www.llbwa.com ~ (815) 732-7181 July 5 - 21, 2012 Convergence 2012 Long Beach Long Beach, CA The Handweavers Guild of America www.weavespindye.org - (678) 730-0010

Exhibits Ongoing - February 23, 2012 Works by Lanny Bergner Schack Art Center Gallery www.schack.org/exhibits/mesh/ Ongoing - February 26, 2012 Focus: Fiber 2011 - 2012 Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH www.taacleveland.org/ffiber.html ~ (440) 543-8138 Ongoing - March 31, 2012 California Indians: Making a Difference The California Museum, Sacramento, CA www.californiamuseum.org ~ (916) 653-7524 Ongoing - March 31, 2012 Native American Art at Dartmouth Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH www.hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu ~ (603) 646-2808 Ongoing - April 15, 2012 Sleight of Hand Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO www.denverartmuseum.org ~ (720) 865-5000 Ongoing - May 31, 2012 Twisted Path II: Contemporary Native American Art Informed by Tradition Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, M (207) 288-3519 Ongoing - July 29, 2012 Texture & Tradition: Japanese Woven Bamboo Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO www.denverartmuseum.org ~ (720) 865-5000 January 25 - March 2, 2012 9x9x3: NEW VISIONS 1155 Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan, NY www.tsgny.org/EXHIBITIONS.html

NBO Quarterly Review is complementary to members of the National Basketry Organization. Application can be made online or you can mail the application form at the back of this issue.

Featured Artists New Faces Interviews Reports Reviews Calendar of Events News and Notables

Please submit your articles, images, notices and ideas for the regular sections:

And as always your letters and opinions are welcome.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


CALENDAROFEVENTS January 26 – April 11, 2012 Willow Stories: Utah Navajo Story Baskets Weber State University Library www.arts.utah.gov/area_interest/visual_arts/tep/exhibits/willow.html (801) 626-6403 February 7 - June 17, 2012 Knitted, Knotted, Twisted & Twined The Jewelry of Mary Lee Hu Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA www.bellevuearts.org ~ (425) 519-0770 March - April 2012 FiberPhiladelphia 2012 Various locations in and around Philadelphia, PA www.fiberphiladelphia.org March 2 – April 14, 2012 Outside/Inside the Box - ICE Box Project Space Crane Arts Building, Philadelphia, PA www.cranearts.com ~ (215) 232-3203 March 2 - April 28, 2012 8th International Fiber Biennial Snyderman-Works Gallery, Philadelphia, PA www.snyderman-works.com ~ (215) 238-9576 November 13, 2012 - February 3, 2013 Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA www.bellevuearts.org ~ (425) 519-0770

Markets & Shows

WORKSHOPS

March 23 - 25, 2012 CRAFTBOSTON Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA www.SocietyofCrafts.org

NBO Members will teach at Arrowmont in 2012 April 8 - 14 Matt Tommey (baskets) July 8 - 14 Lanny Bergner (meshworking in 3-D) August 5 - 11 Jo Stealey (sculptural paper - part I) August 12-18 Jo Stealey (sculptural paper - part II) August 12-18 Jackie Abrams (baskets) October 7-13 JoAnn Kelly Catsos (baskets) www.arrowmont.org ~ (865) 436-5860

April 20-23, 2012 SOFA New York - International Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair Park Avenue Armory, New York, N www.sofaexpo.com ~ (800) 563-7632 April 19-22, 2012 Smithsonian Craft Show National Building Museum, Washington, DC www.smithsoniancraftshow.org ~ (888) 832-9554 July 7, 2012 Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME www.abbemuseum.org ~ (207) 288-3519 August 18 - 19, 2012 SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market 2012 Downtown plaza, Santa Fe, NM www.swaia.org ~ (505) 983-5220 August 23 - 26, 2012 The 28th annual American Craft Exposition Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, Evanston, IL www.americancraftexpo.org

October 25, 2012 - February 24, 2013 BAM Biennial 2012: High Fiber Diet Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA www.bellevuearts.org ~ (425) 519-0770

September 8 - 9, 2012 White Oak Craft Fair The Arts Center of Cannon County, Woodbury, TN www.artscenterofcc.com ~ (615) 563-2787 or 1-800-235-9073

Ongoing - April 1, 2014 Woven Identities Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Santa Fe, NM www.indianartsandculture.org ~ (505) 476-1250

November 8 - 11, 2012 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA www.pmacraftshow.org ~ (215) 684-7930

MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS

ADVERTISEMENTS

Membership dues in the National Basketry Organization are annual. Members should receive renewal notices on each anniversary of their enrollment. All questions about membership are welcome. Please contact Michael Davis at m.davis@nationalbasketry. org or (828) 837.1280.

Please contact NBO Quarterly Review at (828) 837.1280.

www.nationalbasketry.org • Winter 2012

Please refer to the NBO website for photographic requirements or contact us via voice or email.

CALL TO ENTRY March 1, 2012: Deadline for Teaching Proposals 2012 PA Gourd Fest ~ June 21-23, 2012 Smucker Gourd Farm, Kinzers, PA www.pagourdsociety.org ~ (717) 354-6118 March 1, 2012: Deadline for Nominations Textile Society of America solicits nominations for the R. L. Shep Ethnic Textile Book Award www.textilesociety.org/awards_shep.htm March 23, 2012: Deadline for Entry The Nancy and Harry Koenigsberg Student Award Fiber art students in CT, DC, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, and VT www.tsgny.org/ACTIVITIES.html April 1, 2012: Deadline for Teaching Proposals Lone Star Gourd Festival Oct. 18-21, 2012 Gillespie County Fairgrounds, Fredericksburg, TX www.texasgourdsociety.org ~ (281) 300-5013 August 31, 2012: Deadline for Entry Fiberart International 2013 Society for Contemporary Craft and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts www.fiberartspgh.org/guild/node/10

Submit by mail to: NBO Quarterly Review PO Box 277 Brasstown, NC 28902

OR call 828.837.1280 e-mail: m.davis@nationalbasketry.org page 25


Left: Braidy Melon Basket, #17-00 (2000) 15”x15”x15” Handsplit white oak. Ribwork construction. Photography by: © Paul Jeremias Above top: Lidded Embroidery Basket, #8-07, (2007) 10” rim dia Hand-split white oak; Ribwork construction Photography by: © Robert Batey Photography Above bottom: Box Basket, #7-07 (2007) 15.5” x 9.5” rim Hand-split white oak; Ribwork construction, “braid” in sapwood Photography by: © Robert Batey Photography

is my aim. To me, the basket that pleases me most is the easiest to make with each step leading naturally to the next. Harvesting a growing tree from the forest is a great responsibility. I want to create an object worthy of that life.” Aaron continues, “In my early years of basketmaking, my white oak baskets were simple functional pieces made of flat splits. I also create rustic rib baskets commonly called egg baskets in my area of West Virginia. After gaining more skills at finding good basket timber and preparing the materials from the tree, I explored more styles and was particularly drawn to the curves and lines of the ribwork forms. Some of my innovations include: a framework design for creating a swing-handled rib basket and an interwoven hinged lid, which is featured on the oval lidded Purse (p.23) and my earlier work, “Non Tucket Rib” in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “In 1994, I began working in tandem with Cynthia Taylor, my long time partner. She introduced me to other traditional

For additional information page 26

techniques and forms. I started exploring different ribbing methods and refined my work. During this partnership my basketmaking has reached a much higher level and there have been more opportunities to share my work with a much wider audience.” “I now accept commissions for specific pieces and create my own interpretations of traditional forms (such as the Box Basket and Coal Basket). I have designed detailed works to fulfill specific purposes, such as the Lidded Embroidery Basket. I make my Egg Baskets of different sizes and shapes – looking for that perfect curve while refining the materials and adding subtle details such as a carved blip on the underside of the handle and new embellishments with various braid patterns. Over the last 33 years I have made over 2,500 white oak baskets. This traditional craft has been my sole source of income for the last 23 years. It is a tremendous honor to have been designated a United States Artist Ford Fellow.”

visit www.usafellows.org Winter 2012 • www.nationalbasketry.org


recognizing

AWARDWINNER Jackie Abrams

Best of Show 2011 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show

A Woman of Consequence 16” x 11” Cotton, rice papers, acrylic paint and mediums, wax linen Photo Credit: John Polak I have been a maker, mostly of baskets, for over 30 years. I have perfected my skills and consistently challenge myself to create new works. Sitting in my studio with materials in hand is always a source of fulfillment, meditation, frustration, and satisfaction. My teaching and consulting work have enabled me to travel to many places - all over the U.S., Australia, and Africa. These journeys, especially in Africa, have had a profound influence on my work and on my life. I am learning to simplify things, to state what is important. This is what I continue to express in my work. My pieces speak of the cultures and in particular the women I have encountered. Their lives, their fabrics, and their colors inform the vessels I create.

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Consider giving a NBO membership as a gift or make a contribution to our $75,000 Challenge Grant! Please make your tax deductible check payable to NBO and send to: NBO PO Box 277, Brasstown, NC 28902 or apply and pay online at www.nationalbasketry.org www.nationalbasketry.org • Winter 2012

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Winter 2012 NBO Quarterly