The Art of Basketry

The art of basketry draws upon a rich and diverse background. This craft can be seen throughout most cultures. Today, the art is still thriving with many artisans reviving basketry traditions, looking to past artisans, or browsing museum collections for inspiration. The craft of basketry continues to evolve with each basketmaker. The creative process is selective and differs from each artist, with endless variations and continual renewal of textiles, shapes, and spaces. We have compiled a list of basketry techniques created by artisans that speaks of tradition, the inherent need to create and to bring new forms into existence.

Contemporary basketmaker Kari Lonning

Kari Lonning has been a full-time contemporary basketmaker since 1975. Her work is best known for complex weaving and double-walled construction. She dyes natural rattan reed to create graphic patterns and subtle color schemes.

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Tennessee artist Patti Lechman

The pottery influence is apparent as the artist translates the form of a clay vessel to fiber. Lechman process includes intricate knotted nylon in sculpture form.

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Japanese contemporary artist Kiyomi Iwata

Kiyomi Iwata uses silk thread, organza, dye, and kibiso silk to create sculptures derived from traditional Japanese aesthetics combined with contemporary western art.

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New Mexico mixed media artist John Garrett

John Garrett is best known for intermixing various materials to create three-dimensional basket forms that are a mesh of imagery and textile. Very early in his career, Garrett began experimenting with alternatives to traditional fibers. He uses synthesized organic materials like flowers, tendrils and vines mixed with artificial materials such as beads, sequins, and plastics. Many times, it results in a festive imagery of bright colors with reflective surfaces reminiscent of discos, fiestas, and city lights.

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Sculpture artist Karyl Sisson

Artist Karyl Sisson’s work focuses on the transformation of small, familiar objects such as clothespins into other, larger familiar items. During a trip to Yucatan and the Mayan Temple in Chichen Itza, she discovered various ways one can manipulate structures and materials to create different objects. She then experimented with a container form which exposed more of the clothespins and revealed an interior surface quite different from that of the exterior. Her art of basketry reflects a similar concept with a play on structure and shape.

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