Sunday, May 22, 2016

Traditional Baskets, Contemporary Makers - an exhibition

A mix of contemporary forms and colors are presented with traditional materials and techniques in the Wilton Historical Society's main exhibition gallery. March 31 - October 15, 2016.

My rattan baskets, 1979 - 2015

Waxed linen forms by Lois Russell

Waxed linen forms by Lois Russell

Waxed linen forms by Lois Russell

Black ash, splint baskets by Jonathan Kline

Black ash basket by Jonathon Kline

Contemporary Nantucket Lightship baskets by Gail Halvorsen and Harry Hilbert

Natural materials were used in Marion Hildebrandt's baskets

Brown ash splint baskets by Steven Zeh

Monday, February 15, 2016

Paint Box Colors

At the end of February I'll be exhibiting a new collection of baskets in Florida, at the Palm Beach Fine Craft Show. Often people don't see or consider what happens before artwork can begin. Colors need to be chosen, the reed needs to be cut, then it can be dyed. Often the colors inspire color combinations, then patterns and a form evolve. Sometimes a complete idea emerges, but often changes are made as the basket comes to life.

The Connecticut landscape is muted and the temperatures are often frigid. In the winter, weaving with color is my way to celebrate being an artist. (In the summer, I garden with plants and flowers.)

I've been mixing my own colors and saving the dye recipes since I began weaving 40 years ago. I use old recipes as they are or as starting points for new or subtle variations.

A collection of cut and dyed "hairy" pieces. 

Laying out a priliminary color scheme.

I create the "hairy" texture by placing one short piece of reed behind each upright spoke. As I work up the side of the basket, I plan where the colors will be. (Often I need to take out a few rows and replace colors when I see how the colors work with each other.)

By seeing how tall the basket will be, I'm better able to visualize the overall design.

The inner rim was woven to imply weight and to create a sense of mystery. The inside pattern appears where the "hairy" pieces were placed behind each spoke. Encaustic medium (a mixture of bees wax and demar resin) is applied to the finished basket creating a rich sheen and a protective coating.

As the basket is turned, the color combinations change and a painterly effect is created. The finished basket entitled "Paint Box," measures 10.25" x 14.5."

Monday, December 7, 2015

Baskets Inspired by Nature's Colors

I was invited by two groups on FB doing once-a-day-for-5-day-challenges. One challenge was "Nature Photos" the other was called "Creators Art" challenge. I decided to post a series of photos showing how many of my color combinations have been inspired by nature.

Maple leaf rose with leaves and fall colored reed (top left), dried rose buds from Sydney Eddison (lower left) and "Back Door," 16.25" x 12.75" 2015.

Connecticut sunset, oak leaf hydrangea leaves and a "hairy nest" 3" x 6."

Autumn leaves in my driveway and 2 "hairy nests," each 3" x 6."

"Ocean Inspired Seagrass," 15" x 12" 2013 and where the ocean meets an island off the coast of Norway.

Water lilies and Croton leaves at the Chicago Botanic Garden with a "hairy nest" 3" x 6."

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Year for Baskets, Gardens + Small Miracles

Every year we can look back and learn from our experiences, big and little obstacles get in the way, but every day we get a little closer to getting it right. And, if we look for them, we can delight in the small miracles happening all around us. I wish all of you the best of years to come.

This past summer the garden exploded with new potential. I rejuvenated and reclaimed areas much in need of structure. This path had been so overgrown, I couldn't walk through it. Unseen, but off to the right, I cleared enough space to plant tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and white pumpkins!

This fall, my baskets bloomed with new, stronger colors and a few were larger than any I'd woven before. Here's what they looked like at the 2014 Philadelphia Museum of Art's Craft Show.

*There are more photographs, and information about the baskets on my website. And, if you want to see what I've been photographing outdoors and editing online, go to my page on Instagram.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Round and "Hairy" Basket for Craft Boston

basket - Chocolate, Playing with the Bright Guys 7.5" x 9.75"
I'm getting reading for the Craft Boston Holiday Show. 190 juried crafts people from around the country in a broad mix of media will be exhibiting their one-of-a-kind and limited edition art works. The show is sponsored by the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston, MA. From their website: Meeting in Boston in the spring of 1897, a small group of architects, educators, craftspeople, and collectors organized the first crafts exhibition to be held in this country … The success of this first exhibition provoked the organization of The Society of Arts and Crafts, it's purpose being "to develop and encourage higher standards in the handicrafts." 

Here's what my work and display looked like at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show a few weeks ago. (A number of these pieces have been sold, but I've been busy and will have new work for the Boston show.)

 The National Basketry Organization's exhibition "All things Considered VII" has opened at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA and will run through February 23, 2014. NBO's president and fellow basketmaker, Lois Russell, will speak at the December 15th reception. From their website: The exhibition highlights tradition and stretches the imagination of the viewer to new insights of basketry in the 21st century.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Baskets Share NBO's Cover with Rainbow Carrots

The National Basketry Organization's Quarterly Review is out. Their president, and fellow basketmaker, Lois Russell, wrote a great article about my home and work, with an unusual slant. In line with NBO's purpose "to promote the art, skill, heritage and education of traditional and contemporary basketry," Lois wrote about how basketry is only a part of my life. We talked about how nature, travel, and photography also have a role and significance in how I approach my work. Seeing the architecture in plants and how I view details through a camera lens, also feed into my creative process. She quoted me as saying, "It is all about paying attention ... [and] noticing the little things that get you excited." 

The article is loaded with basket photographs and includes a peek inside my greenhouse where I do the encaustic. Since the greenhouse had an exhaust system to draw out excess hot air, it provided an appropriate, ventilated space in which to work with the wax fumes. The photo shows the skillet in which I melt the encaustic, a combination of bees wax and damar resin, the brushes I use to apply the molten medium to my work, and the heat gun used to melt the wax/resin into the reed.


I spend a lot of time in the garden with Emma (in the photo below) and Kitt, the Cat, paying attention to colors and textures. Another source of basket inspiration is viewing and editing photographs on Instagram using online photo applications where I can experiment with color combinations. The basket in the lower left, is a result of one such experiment.  


A client sent me a grey and orange tile to suggest colors for a custom set of baskets. I worked on a series of dye lots for her, then wove the pair of baskets shown below.

Finally, on the right, is information about a workshop I'll be giving at the North Country Studio Workshop (NCSW), in Bennington, VT at the end of January 2014. In this class students will be encouraged to experiment and take their basketry beyond strictly functional vessel forms. NCSW is offering 13, 5-day workshops in various media taught by nationally recognized craft and fine art professionals in a range of media. You can go to their website for more information.


To see my work in person, I'll be exhibiting in 2 juried craft shows this fall. The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show will be open November 6-10, and CraftBoston will be December 6-8. I hope to see you at one of these shows. You can see the work I'll be bringing on my website:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Blog Update - International Articles

In an effort to update those of you who read this blog, there have been 2 international articles which have featured my work. The first article is from Australia by - here's the beginning of the article:

This one is from Slovania by One of my "hairy" baskets was included in a group of basketmakers from around the world who use traditional materials.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

* Wishing all a Creative, Healthy, and Prosperous 2013 *

Here's an edited New Year's greeting to start the year (from a walk Emma and I took in the last hours of 2012).

I have a new-ish passion. I've been entering daily photo challenges on Instagram (a photo sharing, mobile device application) and interacting with photographers of all ages, from all around the world. As a community, they're a mostly young, tech savvy, visually oriented group who share their passion for photography and editing. Because this is a relatively new medium, and the people who participate share their techniques so generously, I've been learning at the speed of light. I still LOVE to weave, but I look at the world differently now, and see patterns and color combinations that I can apply to my weaving. It's a very exciting and stimulating time.

*Another way to see my edits, though not the photos of Emma and gardens is to go to my Instacanvas account. My username across social media platforms is "karibaskets."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Collection of New Colors, and New Designs

From Oct 12-14, 2012, I will be exhibiting at the Westchester Fine Crafts Show at the County Center in White Plains, NY. November 8-11, 2012, I'll be showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Craft Show as one the 195 artists selected from more than 1,300 applicants. This year a group of artists from England and Ireland have been invited to exhibit (and sell) with us. I hope to see many of you!