Tag: Lizzie Farey

Books Make Great Gifts: 2017, Part 1

Book: What Happened Hillary Rodham Clinton

Book: Vitamin-Clay-Ceramic-Contemporary-Art/dp/0714874604/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513259535&sr=8-1&keywords=Vitamin+C%3A+Clay+%2B+Ceramic+in+Contemporary+Art+%28Phaidon%29

Another wide-ranging selection of books selected by browngrotta arts’ artist this year. Mary Merkel Hess: recommends What Happened by Hillary Clinton (Simon and Schuster). “Have you ever wondered what Hillary Clinton’s favorite snack is?,” Mary asks. “Me neither, but now I know. I listened to the audio version of this book read by Hillary herself. Hearing the book in her own voice made it ‘up close and personal.’ Her detailed description of life on the campaign trail, from a feminine perspective in an unusual political year, is fascinating.” Mary also has an art book on her list: Vitamin C: Clay + Ceramic in Contemporary Art (Phaidon). “For those of you who enjoy a book of luscious photography in coffee table size,” says Mary, “this is for you. Vitamin C is a medium-specific survey of more than 100 ceramic artists nominated by international art world professionals. A disclaimer: My son, Matthias Merkel-Hess, is included in this book but I am enjoying the photos and short essays enough that I am reading the other entries too. Some larger lights in the ceramic world like Ai Wei Wei and Betty Woodman are included as well as younger artists.”

Book: Chance-and-Change-by-Mel-Gooding,Chance and Change by Mel Gooding, about the nature artist Herman de Vries (Thames & Hudson) “is a wonderful book,” says Lizzie Farey. “It appraises De Vries’s work with beautiful images and argues that a proper contemplation and experience of nature is essential to living in any meaningful sense.”

Book: Oryx and Crake“Today’s world is so utterly filled with alternative facts and a reality of denial that for reasons unexplainable,” Wendy Wahl writes, “I decided to immerse myself in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian trilogy. While not new on the literary scene, I recently finished the first book, Oryx and Crake (Anchor), and am absorbed in The Year of the Flood (Anchor) which will be followed by Book: MaddAddam (The Maddaddam Trilogy)MaddAddam (Anchor) to close 2017. Atwood brilliantly takes us on an idiosyncratic journey with her keen wit and dark humor combining adventure and romance while forecasting a future that is at once all too recognizable and beyond envisioning. I highly recommend this environmental, philosophical and spiritual work of science fiction as a parallel view of the current global crossroads.”

Scott Rothstein recently receivedBook: Jangarh-Singh-Shyam-Enchanted-Collection Jangarh Singh Shyam: The Enchanted Forest Paintings and Drawings from the Crites Collection, by Aurogeeta Das (ROLI), a “truly remarkable” book from the collector of this work, who Scott knows from Delhi. You can read more about the show here: http://artfoundout.blogspot.com/2017/10/jangarh-singh-shyam-enchanted-forest.html, and read a great interview with the collector here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh1JhXAebGc.

Ambarvalia アムパルワリア 旅人かえらず, by Nishiwaki Junzaburo 西脇順三郎“I’m reading a poem book by Japanese poet in Japanese….it is wonderful and strong,” says Tamiko Kawata. Sorry, not in English!!! “ It’s title is Ambarvalia アムパルワリア 旅人かえらず, by Nishiwaki Junzaburo 西脇順三郎 (Kodansha Bungei Bunko). “I hope someone will enjoy.”

Book: The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the AirNancy Moore Bess’s contribution is The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air, Elisa Urbanelli (University of California Press). It is the 2007 catalogue from the traveling exhibition of the same name. “Perhaps you saw it when it was at Japan Society,” she writes. “I missed it at the deYoung, but I was lucky to catch it shortly thereafter at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. The book is an inspiring documentation of her life, work, values and sense of community. There are drawings, which I had never seen before, photos of her with her early work and with friends. And then the stunning photographs of her later work. When the deYoung opened its new (and very controversial) building in 2005, over a dozen of her pieces were installed at the base of the tower. They are lit in such a way as to reveal how important shadows are to complete each piece. The photographs in the book really capture the installation. Buy the book and then come see the work in person! Prepare to stay a while and take it all in. Recently friends visited – Leon Russell from Seattle and Nancy Koenigsberg from New York. Both are now living with the book! Ruth died in 2013, but she is still revered in San Francisco – both for her artwork and for her commitment to children and the community. So wish I had met her! My great loss.”

Book: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis“The book that moved me and opened my eyes to a world that I knew superficially was Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance,”writes Kyomi Iwata. “This book explained in a way why people chose the current political leader. I had a casual conversation with a Southern lady during our visit to the William and Mary College Art Museum in Williamsburg, Va this spring. She was a stranger who was holding the book and saying she did not like the book. It was the reading recommendation from her book club. At the end of our brief encounter though, we both agreed that knowing something which is not familiar is a worthwhile read. This book emphasized the importance of education and getting out from a familiar situation even though it is scary sometimes. The author felt this way and eventually went to Yale Law School. Afterwards he came back to the community to help others. Oh yes, he is a white man.”

Book: Mark Rothko: From the Inside Out, by his son, Christopher RothkoRachel Max has been reading Mark Rothko: From the Inside Out, by his son, Christopher Rothko. “Rothko’s meditative sensitivity and use of colour inspires me and this is a personal and engaging analysis of his father’s work. I was particularly interested in the chapter on Rothko and Music and of the emotional power of Rothko’s paintings and its parallels to music. Music was hugely important to Rothko and his son draws similarities between Mozart’s melodies and his father’s transparent textures, clarity, and purity of from in order to give what he calls greater expression – for both artist and composer alike nothing was added unnecessarily. Rothko’s application of paint and varnish allows us to see layers which would otherwise be concealed. He also draws comparisons between their artistic power to convey complex feelings and to what he describes as the coexistence between ecstasy and doom. He also describes how they both had the paradoxical ability to create an intimate and yet grand space. Christopher Rothko doesn’t draw the line at Mozart, he makes comparisons to Schubert’s shifts in tone and of the interplay between Rothko’s pigments, and to the relationship between Rothko’s sense of space with Morton Feldman’s use of silence. Rothko wanted his paintings to affect us in the same way he felt that music and poetry does – an absolute means of expressing what perhaps cannot be explained in words, “ she writes. “I grew up surrounded with music. The relationship between music and weaving is something I have been exploring and this particular essay resonated with me, but the others are equally personal and thought provoking.” Rachel has also been given copies of
From Tapestry to Fiber Art (Skira) and Books Make Great Gifts: Rooted Revived Reinvented: Basketry in America by Kristin Schwain and Josephine StealeyRooted Revived Reinvented: Basketry in America by Kristin Schwain and Josephine Stealey (Schiffer) and she can’t wait to read them!

At browngrotta arts we are awaiting our on-order copy of Books men great gifts: From Tapestry to Fiber Art (Skira)From Tapestry to Fiber Art: The Lausanne Biennals 1962-1995 with text by Giselle Eberhard Cotton, Magali Junet, Odile Contamin, Janis Jefferies, Keiko Kawashima, Marta Kowalewska, Jenelle Porter (Skira). We have on good authority that it is a beautiful book. We are also looking forwarded to wandering through the re-issue of Book Make Great Gifts: Anni Albers On WeavingAnni Albers’ On Weaving (Princeton University Press) (shhhhh, it’s still under the tree!). Enjoy!


Still Crazy…30 Years: The Catalog

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog Cover Naoko Serino and Mary Yagi

Still Crazy…30 Years: The Catalog

It’s big! It’s beautiful (if we do say so ourselves –and we do)! The catalog for our 30th anniversary is now available on our new shopping cart. The catalog — our 46th volume — contains 196 pages (plus the cover), 186 color photographs of work by 83 artists, artist statements, biographies, details and installation shots.

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Naoko Serino Spread

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Michael Radyk Spread

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Lilla Kulka Spread

Still Crazy...30 Years: The Catalog

Jo Barker Spread

The essay, is by Janet Koplos, a longtime editor at Art in America magazine, a contributing editor to Fiberarts, and a guest editor of American Craft. She is the author of Contemporary Japanese Sculpture (Abbeville, 1990) and co-author of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). We have included a few sample spreads here. Each includes a full-page image of a work, a detail shot and an artist’s statement. There is additional artists’ biographical information in the back of the book. Still Crazy After All These Years…30 years in art can be purchased at www.browngrotta.com http://store.browngrotta.
com/still-crazy-after-all-these-years-30-years-in-art/.
Our shopping cart is mobile-device friendly and we now take PayPal.


It’s Never Too Early: How to Buy Art in Your 20s

Lizzie Farey, Deborah Valoma and Stéphanie Jacques

Lizzie Farey($1,800), Deborah Valoma($1,700) and Stéphanie Jacques($1,200). Photo by Tom Grotta

Thanks to the DIY movement and a mass of online and cable design and decor resources, we’ve never had more encouragement to create environments that inspire and invigorate. Art can be an essential element of such an environment and investing in art need not be a bank breaker. Domino, a curated site that encourages readers to “bring your style home,” offers several tips for buying art in your 20s, including not buying too big and not being afraid to invest http://domino.com/how-to-buy-art-in-your-twenties/story-image/all. We at browngrotta arts have a few additional thoughts:

6tt INYO (95-2), Tsuruko Tanikawa, brass and iron wire, coiled and burned, 7.5" x 6.5" x 14", 1995

INYO (95-2), Tsuruko Tanikawa, brass and iron wire, coiled and burned, 7.5″ x 6.5″ x 14″, 1995 ($1,200)

1) Think objects: If you are in your first apartment or are fairly certain that a move is in your future, Ceramics, Art Baskets, Glass sculptures can be easier to place in your next home than a large wall piece may be.

Naomi Kobayashi Red & White Cubes

Naomi Kobayashi Red & White Cubes ($1,000 each)

2) Invest for impact: Prints are generally less expensive than originals, editions less expensive than a one off. And you will find that some mediums are, in general, priced more accessibly than others. Art textiles and fiber sculpture are an example. Work by the best-known artists in the field go for under a million dollars, compared to tens of million dollars for paintings by well-recognized artists.  You can start small with works in fiber, ceramics and wood, and create a small, but well-curated, collection. Consider Naomi Kobayashi, a Japanese textile artist whose work is in the permanent collection of many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and whose work can be acquired for $1000.  Or an up-and-coming artist like Stéphanie Jacques from Belgium, whose masterful multi-media works address issues of gender and identity, and begin at prices below $1500.

GRAY WITH BLACK, Sara Brenan, wool & silks linen, 12.5” x 19”, $1,900 photo by Tom Grotta

GRAY WITH BLACK, Sara Brenan, wool & silks linen, 12.5” x 19”, $1,900 photo by Tom Grotta

3) Take advantage of digital placement: Reviewing art online is a great way to expose yourself to a wide variety of work, and develop your personal aesthetic. Once you’ve found a work that appeals, digital placement can give you a greater level of confidence before you press “Buy.” At browngrotta arts, we ask clients to send us a photo of the space the propose to install the work. We can digitally install the piece, to scale and with shadow, so you have a sense of how will work there.

32pc CONSTRUCTION III, Pat Campbell, rice paper, reed, 8" x 7.5" x 5.5", 2002

32pc CONSTRUCTION III, Pat Campbell, rice paper, reed, 8″ x 7.5″ x 5.5″, 2002

4) Document: If the work you purchase has appeared in a book or a catalog, make sure you get a copy. Ask the seller for any information he/she has on the artist for your files. On each artist’s page on browngrotta.com, you can find a list of publications in which the artist’s work appears. The documentation is good to have for insurance and appraisal purposes and you can watch as the artist’s cv —hopefully — expands in the next several years.

5) Buy for love: It’s great to learn 10 years down the road that a work of art you purchased has appreciated and is worth more than you paid for it. We’d argue, though, that if you’ve enjoyed owning it for 10 years, and thought each time you looked at it, “I really love that piece,” you’ll have gotten your money’s worth, and enriched your life in the process.


Objects of Desire Gift Guide: Part 3 -The Natural Order

Choose among baskets, sculptures and wall works of natural materials including wood bark, cockle burrs, leaves and feathers.

Natural Order Objects

1) HAYSTACK RIVER BASKET, Dorothy Gill Barnes
early river teeth, 14.5″ x 21″ x 16″, 2011

2) PANIER-MAISON II, Stéphanie Jacques
wood, willow, raw clay coated and limewash, 16.5″ x 21.25″ x 21.25″, 2010

3) MARAG, Lizzie Farey
willow, wax and galloway pebble, 
16.5″ x 11.5″ x 11.5″, 2006

4) GUARDIAN II, Jan Buckman
waxed linen and hawthorne branches, 
27″ x 7.5″ x 7″, 2002

5) BIRD BRAIN, John Mcqueen
woven willow twigs, waxed string , 26″ x 23.5″ x 23″, 2002

6) CAMPHOR, Lawrence LaBianca
glass with photo, branch, steel, 12″ x 22″ x 7″, 1999

7) EMU, Virginia Kaiser
pine needles, Emu feathers, stitched with linen, 14″ x 5″ x 5″, 2011

8) PUSSY WILLOW XIIII, Markku Kosonen
willow, 8″ x 12″ x 12″, 1996

9) LEAF BOWL, Kay Sekimachi
skeleton of big leaf maple, 8″ x 5″ x 5″, 2011

10) FITTINGS V, Hisako Sekijima
cherry and maple, 
8″ x 10″ x 9″, 1999

11) CRADLE TO CRADLE, Gyöngy Laky
apple, commercial wood, screws, 16 x 30″ x 30″, 2007

12) CHINESE LANTERN, Ceca Georgieva
burdock burrs, chinese lantern, 16” x 8.25” x 4.75”, 2012

13) MOTHER  & CHILD, Dawn MacNutt
twined willow, 
36″ x 9″ x 9″, 2009, $3,000

47db TWENTY FIVE SQUARES14) TWENTY -FIVE SQUARES, Dail Behennah
willow silver plated pins, 
37.5″ x 37.5″ x 3″, 2007


November 26th: Our Online Exhibition Opens With an Offer for CyberMonday

On Monday, November 26th, browngrotta arts will present an online version of our 25th anniversary exhibition,Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture at browngrotta.com. The comprehensive exhibition highlights browngrotta arts’ 25 years promoting international contemporary art. Viewers can click on any image in the online exhibition to reach a page with more information about the artists and their work.

“Some works in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture reflect the early days of contemporary textile art and sculpture movement,” says Tom Grotta, founder and co-curator at browngrotta arts. “There are also current works by both established and emerging artists, which provide an indication of where the movement is now and where it may be headed.”

Since Monday the 26th is CyberMonday this year, sales of art, books, catalogs, videos or dvds placed online or by telephone that day will be discounted 10% (excluding tax and shipping). In addition, bga will make a donation to the International Child Art Foundation for each sale made from November 24th through December 31, 2012. Visit browngrotta.com. For more information call Tom at 203.834.0623 or email us at art@browngrotta.com.


The Next Big Thing: Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers

Jiro Yonezawa bamboo Bridge and Kay Sekimachi Leaf bowl. photo by Tom Grotta

We’ve had a busy fall season at browngrotta arts. First was Stimulus: art and its inception, which you can still see in the catalog http://www.
browngrotta.com/Pages/c36.php
 and online through the end of the month http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/StimulusOnlineExhibit.php. Next up, is Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Wayne Art Center, Pennsylvania http://www.
wayneart.org/exhibition/green-from-the-get-go-international-contemporary-basketmakers
 which runs from December 2, 2011 to January 21, 2012.  Green from the Get Go is curated by Jane Milosch, former curator of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum in collaboration with browngrotta arts. The exhibition features an exciting compilation of more than 40 works by artists who take inspiration from nature and the history of basketry. Since prehistoric times artists and craftspeople have been highly attuned to the beauty and resources of the natural world, whether depicting a pristine landscape, untouched by man, or harvesting plants and minerals for pigments and brushes. Sustainability is part of the design and craft process, which requires a heightened sensitivity to materials, one that honors the caring for, replenishing and repurposing of materials. Artist Dorothy Gill Barnes captures this eco-friendly position well when she explains, “my intent is to construct a vessel or related object using materials respectfully harvested from nature.”

CROSSING OVER Dona Anderson bamboo kendo (martial art sticks), patterned paper, thread 15" x 94" x 30" 2008. photo by Richard Nicol

 

Some of the sculptural baskets in Green from the Get Go are made from both flora and fauna, from bamboo, pine, sea grass, and willow to emu feathers and bayberry thorns. The tactile nature of these fiberous works stimulates all of the senses—sight, smell, touch and even sound. Each maker brings his or her own conceptual approach and expression to the design and fabrication process. Some works are small enough to nestle in the hand or rest table-top, while others are monumental or hang on the wall. Green from the Get Go stretches our imagination in terms of what materials and forms constitute a basket and how art bespeaks the interconnected relationship of man and nature.

The exhibition includes artists from Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK, Scandinavia and the US, featuring innovators in the genre of 20th-century art basketry as well as emerging talent: Dona AndersonJane Balsgaard, Dorothy Gill Barnes,Dail Behennah. Nancy Moore Bess, Birgit Birkkjaer, Jan Buckman, Chris Drury, Lizzie Farey, Ceca Georgieva, Marion Hildebrandt, Kiyomi Iwata, Christine JoyVirginia Kaiser, Markku Kosonen, Gyöngy Laky, Dawn MacNutt,  John McQueenMary Merkel-Hess, Norma Minkowitz, Valerie Pragnell, Ed Rossbach, Hisako Sekijima, Kay Sekimachi, Naoko SerinoKlaus Titze, Jiro Yonezawa and Masako Yoshido.

PILLOW, Norma Minkowitz, fiber, wood, paint, 2011

 

The preview party for Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers and Craftforms 2011, juried by Elisabeth Agros of the Philadelphia Art Museum, takes place on the evening of December 2nd and we’ll be there. For more in formation, contact the Wayne Art Center: http://www.wayneart.org/events/?id=48.


News Flash: browngrotta arts and artists get good press

The last couple of months have seen browngrotta arts and the artists whose work we represent make the news in periodicals online and around the world.  Lia Cook’s work graced the cover of the December 2010 issue of Textil Forum, published in Germany, as part of a fascinating article by the artist, “An investigation: Woven Faces and Neuroscience”
http://www.
exacteditions.com/
exact/browse/573/
911/7936/2/44?dps=on
(more on that project in an upcoming post).The January issue of the always striking online magazine Hand/Eye included a piece on our singular business/life model, “Living with Art,” by artist and writer Scott Rothstein

http://handeyemagazine.com/content/browngrotta-arts. The related slideshow features dozen of art works on display in our barn/gallery/home. (You can read more by Scott Rothstein on his blog, http://artfoundout.blogspot.com, in American Craft magazine and elsewhere.) Meanwhile, the January/February of the UK Crafts magazine includes images from Lizzie Farey’s solo exhibition at City Art Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/crafts-magazine/latest-issue.

The January issue of Artist Magazine from Taiwan has a several-page article about Norie Hatakeyama by Ming-Whe Liou, with photos by Tom Grotta. We can’t tell you what it says — but it looks good. http://www.artist-magazine.com/magazine/index.php.
Last, but certainly not least, the cover of the Spring 2011 issue
of The Journal of Wealth Management, features Tom Grotta’s photo
of Christine Joy’s willow sculpture, Bundle
http://www.iijournals.
com/toc/jwm/13/4
.

 


Exhibit News: Contained Excitement – Pleasures of the Void

Jiro Yonezawa, Nancy Moore Bess, Hisako Sekijima at Cavin-Morris Gallery Exhibit photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

Through January 22, 2011, the Cavin-Morris Gallery in New York is exhibiting a remarkable grouping of eclectic  cross-cultural, multi-genre objects.  The exhibition, entitled, Contained Excitement – Pleasures of the Void, includes work  by several artists represented by browngrotta arts,  including Dorothy Gill Barnes, Nancy Moore Bess, Lizzy Farey, Mutsumi Iwasaki, Jennifer Falck Linssen, Hisako Sekijima, Kay Sekimachi, Jiro Yonezawa and Masako Yoshida, deftly combined with ceramics, boxes, bowls, books and furniture and more.

Hisako Sekijima and Jiro Yonezawa at Cavin-Morris Gallery Exhibit photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

Mutsumi Iwasaki at Cavin-Morris Gallery Exhibit photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

photo courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery

The exhibition focuses on the way the artists control the sensual expectations of space in an object, which may or may not take leave of its utilitarian purpose. The exhibition features Art Brut, ancient and contemporary ceramics, New Basketry, and other media. Included are Chinese ceramic reliquaries for keeping wrapped sutr as, the transformation of Native American Sweetgrass into deconstructions of molecular perfection in Debora Muhl’s work; the nervous and dark recycling in the forms made by Jerry Bleem and John Garrett; the beckoning toward initiatory revelation in Susan Kavicky and Lissa Hunter; the brooding presence in the lithops-like ceramic sculptures of Kenji Gomi; the Zen poems inscribed in the early ceramics of the Buddhist nun Rengetsu; hidden books of healing and magic from the tribal peoples in Southern China; the incredible repression and resultant freedom in the ceramics boxes of Shuji Ikeda where the clay is woven like bamboo; the opening of soul to the elements of wind and light in the sweeping bamboo constructions of Charissa Brock met by the dark compression of clay into Place and Mortality in the ceramics of Tim Rowan; the erotic beckoning of release through restraint and role-play in the bondage bed made by Sullivan Walsh; the New Baskets of JoAnne Russo and Nancy Moore Bess; and the ancient feminism of the ceramics of Avital Sheffer. A special inclusion will be an installation of Choson-period tea bowls from Korea and two intricate and rare woven rattan shields from early Kongo.

Also included are: Emogayu,  Jill Bonovitz, Polly Jacobs Giacchina, Deirdre Hawthorne, Mei-Ling Hom, Kentaro Kawabata, Gerri Johnson-McMillin,  Shozo Michikawa, Drew Nichols, Akira Satake, Hyungsub Shin, Polly Adams Sutton, Akiko Tanaka, Tyrome Tripoli, and Shannon Weber. The Gallery is at 210 Eleventh Avenue, Suite 201, between 24th and 25th, For more information contact: Shari Cavin, Randall Morris, or Mariko Tanaka: 212-226-3768 or email: mtanaka@cavinmorris.comwww.cavinmorris.com.


In Print: Weave Arrived, in how to spend it, the Financial Times

weave.arrived.jpg

Basketry has graduated from country-fair staple to sophisticated urban art form, Emma Crichton-Miller wrote in Weave Arrived, an article in the December 5, 2009 issue of the Financial TImes‘ glossy weekly magazine, how to spend it. Over the last 15 years, Crichton-Miller observes, “basket-making has experienced not just a revival but a reinvention.” The transformation to an expressive medium has been led in the UK by Mary Butcher, recently designer-in-residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Butcher learned traditional skills from artisan basketmaker, Alwyne Hawkins, but as a research fellow she began to use the materials to create work that “slipped its leash” — cones that hang from the ceiling, chains of bark rings and densely woven sculptural shapes. Crichton-Miller notes that outside the UK, art basketmaking has had a high profile for sometime as a result of artists like Markku Kosonen of Finland, and John McQueen and Ed Rossbach in the US.

With the vessel no longer the “first priority,” says Butcher, basketmakers are able to address other exploratory concerns. Lizzie Farey’s willow spheres and soaring wall pieces are animated by her attachment to the landscape of Scotland, where she lives and works. Dail Behennah, who studied geography, creates forms of steel, willow and other woods that are constructed, rather than woven. Her grids, scaffolds and spheres explore ideas about line and light and shadow. Joe Hogan rescues ancient wood from bogs and the sea that he incorporates into his woven forms. The result is often unexpected, highly individual and energetic. Artists like these have ended “basketry’s 20th-century obsession with the past,” Crichton-Miller concludes, and entered “a new world of pure function-free aesthetic pleasure.”


Willow Talk

photo by Shannon Tofts

We visited London in May for the Collect show at the Saatchi Gallery. While there, we had a chance to speak with journalist Emma Crichton-Miller about the fiber art field for an article on the state of contemporary basket weaving – not just in the U.K., but also in Europe, the US and elsewhere. The article, Willow Talk, appeared in the July-August 2009 issue of Crafts magazine. and in it, Crichton-Miller offers a positive prognosis for the art of basketry in the U.K. In the article, Crichton-Miller tracks the growing appreciation in the U.K. for basketry as an art form, comparing artists like Ed Rossbach and John McQueen in the U.S., Markku Kosonen in Finland and Shouchiko Tanabe of Japan, with artists like Lizzie Farey of the U.K., Joe Hogan of Ireland and Dail Behennah, Lois Walpole, Shuna Rendel and Mary Butcher of the U.K., for whom recognition has been more recently won. “Basketry, in an artist’s hands, becomes as richly metaphorical as any craft,” Crichton-Miller observes. Listing a series of solo and group exhibits, including East Meets West: Basketry from Japan & Britain and European Baskets, Crichton-Miller predicts that basket-weaving in the U.K., as in America, Europe and Japan, seems ready to leave behind “its hobby status, its nostalgia for the past, to join the contemporary conversation.”