Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh my, I've been tagged for an "Honest Scrap Award"

Susan Cohan aka Miss Rumphius' Rules, has tagged me for this bit of notoriety! The award has two components. First you have to list 10 honest things about yourself (and make them interesting), and second -- present the award to seven other bloggers. This was an interesting process for me. I'm more comfortable sharing photos of baskets and nature than using words, but here it goes:
1. I spend far too much time on Twitter, but it inspires me and I always learn something new or interesting.
2. Looking at color and design feeds me the way others are moved by music.
3. I believe in quality, not quantity as it applies to just about everything.
4. My best friend is an extroverted, 94 pound Old English Sheepdog.
5. I like all animals, but not all people.
6. I tried once, fell in love, it didn't work out. (I won't try that again soon.)
7. I am more comfortable in a garden or on the side of a mountain, than in a city. (There's a rustic cluster of cabins in northern Norway where I seem to breathe more deeply ...)
8. My 30 year old yard/garden is seriously "potbound."
9. I wanted to be an architect, I've always been an artist.
10. I wish preschools would teach logic to little kids.
My seven (plus one) choices for bloggers are:
I look forward to hearing any thoughts you might like to share.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Anemone Seeds, Jeweled Nets

These anemone seeds started in tight heads. As they aged, they formed nets which broke open and their seeds spread with the wind.
I submitted this photo to Fine Gardening's November photo challenge and they liked it! (I was one of four whose work was chosen to receive a time-lapse plant camera!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Summer Palace, by Patrick Dougherty

This 25 foot sculpture was built on the grounds of the Morris Arboretum in April of 2009. Partick Doughtery worked with 75 volunteers over a 19 day period. They used locally gathered materials: willow, dogwood, maple and birch. (No nails or hardware were used.)


It was very humbling to walk into something so structurally strong which felt like it had been woven by a bird (ie. as in bird's nest).


The third photo is looking through one of the outer walls into an inner chamber. I noticed a few of the willow branches had started to grow and had sent out leaves. How amazing it would be to weave a home and then have the whole thing take root and grow!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I went to the woods to weave

Last Sunday I went to a social media "tweetup" with David Mathison aka @BeTheMedia. After lots of talk and a latte, Emma and I retreated to the woods to regroup. I needed time to think about the information and to consider the possibilities. We sat in the sun and I wove a wreath using Aspen leaves. (Maple leaves with all their beautiful colors work well in wreaths, but they dry out and become fragile much faster than the Aspen leaves.) A few days later I went back and collected a more leaves and created a spiral turning back on it's self. Here is a photo of the finished spiral.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Google Satellite Photo as Inspiration

This is an only-minimally-enhanced satellite photo. It represents about 1.3 miles of cultivated fields and rocky outcroppings out in Montana. The geometry and sense of open space for a New Englander, who is used to trees and construction, inspired awe. About the same time I looked at this, I learned about the plight of the wild mustangs and I fantasized about buying up canyon lands for them to roam free on. The basket "Protecting Wide Open Spaces" was inspired by these thoughts. Here is a postcard I am working on where I've combined this landscape with the basket.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fig Forms for the Fuller

While getting ready for the Westchester Craft Fair, I wove a basket whose inside interested me as much as the outside. The basket was woven using my "hairy" technique where short pieces of rattan are individually bent, then placed behind each spoke as I weave. In the above photo, each time a blue, orange, yellow, natural or chartreuse reed appears on the inside two short ends stick out on the outside. It's a time intensive process, but the blending of hairy pieces on the outside can be subtle and wonderful. Here though, I started thinking about what I could do with the surface of a basket if in effect, the basket were woven inside out, ie. if the hairy pieces pointed to the inside and the smooth surface you see above were on the outside. (For the commission, I have been concerned that an all-over hairy piece might not stand up as well as it should in the long run.)
In addition to having a less vulnerable outer surface, having all the ends on the inside would give me the ability to weave complex blocks of color without the usual problem of having to secure all the ends. I could either design a basket where the viewer could look into the basket and see all the texture OR ... focus on the complex color changes on the outside. Years ago I wove an open bowl with all the hairy on the inside, but the focus was still on the texture, not on the smooth color changes that occurred on the outside. I'm now interested in the smooth surface, on the outside.
The "figs" would be closed forms. People wouldn't be able to see inside. The bent hairy pieces would create a pattern on the outside. If these pieces were 3-4 feet, the added weight of all the inside hairy pieces would add to a sense of mass, which could help stablilize the two .... though, I might have to weave something heavy inside the basket ... these are all still just thoughts.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


As I was working on my taxes a few days ago I had this book opened in front of me. It is from the exhibition, "Detour" at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The theme of the book is places where travelers could stop along a particularly scenic route in Norway. The stops would be conceived of and built by prominent architects. The architects involved with this one in Lofoten were Snødalle As. When starting to put colors together for the next basket. I realized that I was being drawn to the cool neutral colors in this photograph, Also, instead of weaving a closed form, I've been enjoying the wide open central area of this space. Here are the bits of color I will be using.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Touched By Design

The Touched by Design Salon show is finished. The weather was almost too good all weekend. Attendance was down from last year, but the quality of those who came made up for that! Philippe Rayer of Croton-on-Hudson, NY catered the event. (There was smoked trout and escargot and ...more!) I sold a few baskets, was asked to make a tiny basket, for a miniatures collection and, I was surrounded by French, Scottish, Indian, Swiss, and Slovenian accents. It was much more fun than doing a craft fair with a hundred other artists. For more information on the four other artists click on this link.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Field of Baskets, or Baskets as a Garden ...

I'm working on ideas for the Fuller Craft Museum commission. The ideas are coming faster than I can write so I'm going off line to concentrate. I'll be back later today - to tell about the idea on the left and the ones still in my head, but in the meantime maybe this will entice you to return. (The basket on the right shows what the spokes left unwoven looks like, rising up from the top edge of the basket.) The idea on the left may or may not be woven with the "hairy" technique ... Please click here, to read what I posted.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Free-Standing, Stacked Basket

While talking to a friend about the Fuller Craft Museum Commision, I started doodling. The idea of weaving individual baskets which would be stacked on top of eachother - like stringing beads - came to me. If you can imagine COMPLETELY changing the scale, from beads or desktop-baskets to something approaching people size, the statement becomes more sculptural and less "basket-like." There are technical issues which will need resolving once it gets past a certain size. Whether I make this full size or not, I look forward to weaving a mock-up.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A week on an island off the coast of Norway

The rock is pink granite, it is worn smooth by the crashing waves.
This view is on the far side of the island, facing the ocean. Denmark would be off to the right and far across the sea. It's hard to describe the not-so-quiet magic of a place which is composed of water-tossed rock and sturdy heather. Being in the midst of such natural beauty puts the concerns of commercialism and competition in a distant perspective.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Color and Textures in Norway

I spent the first week of August week in the mountains southeast of Tronheim, Norway. Then we took the train to Oslo and later drove down the coast to the island.
Imagine this as the driveway leading up to your house - beautiful isn't it? This was what we saw as we approached the cabins. It's a 45 minute hike up the mountain from the logging road where we left the car. The group of buildings was built by my grandfather and another man 80 years ago. There was no electricity, or indoor plumbing. We cooked on an iron stove and used candles and kerosene lamps for light in the evenings. It was heaven.
The cabins were built on a small rise just above where the evergreens stopped growing and the birch trees took over. Blueberries, cloudberries, orchids, and ferns grew in profusion. The subtle colors and textures took my breath away.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Where I Get Inspiration

People often ask me where I look for inspiration. Usually I abstractly say my garden, architecture, books, or the newest reed color. A few days ago I wanted to weave a basket because of a friend's painting. Her choice of color combinations, the amount of each color used, and the composition - together motivated me to start a new basket. What I found interesting and sort of amazing (because I hadn't put it together until the basket was finished) was that a few days before, I had bought one of my favorite varieties of orchids. Many of the colors in the orchid, were also in the painting and I had used them in the new basket! Sometimes I'm more aware of the color choices I make, other times I just feel drawn to a particular palette and it isn't until afterwards that I understand where the influence had come from.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Basket Tribute to Leslie Baker

This basket (2 sides of the same piece are shown here) was inspired by Leslie Baker's painting "Blue Shed." She has an opening at the Shaw Cramer Gallery in Martha's Vineyard on July 24th. This basket and a few others will be on display out there as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fuller Craft Museum Update

In April, I wrote about receiving a purchase award from the Fuller Craft Museum, in Brockton, MA. I've started working on designs for them, and have posted a "note" about it. Click here to read about an idea I'm very excited about.

Monday, July 13, 2009

4th of July Flowers For a Party

Blue Lacecap and Annabelle Hydranga, Gooseneck Lysimachia,
and red geranium.

July Double-Wall

In this basket I've used encaustic medium (a combination of wax and resin) melted into the surface of the basket which adds a richer look to the color, actual strength and a more tactile feel to the basket. The basket doesn't have a flat bottom (on purpose) so it will sit slightly off center. The outer basket has a gentle bowl form. Just before joining the inside and outside baskets together at the outer edge, I inserted glass marbles, which will roll around inside adding sound and weight to the basket, as it is handled.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fractured, a new basket for the wall

This basket began as a desire to work with a new, dark neutral reed I'd just dyed. For the last few months, I've been working with bright colors, but now I'm drawn to working in muted tones. (The recent rain has literally dampened everything.) While I weave, I think about the construction, graphics and the use of color, as if they all had personalities. I've always liked the privacy and security of courtyard gardens, so in this piece I wove a raised wall around the center grid. From the top of the wall, I added the spiral design to draw the eye out to the edge, but contained the graphic with a solid band. The red I used as emotion - as the contrasting element in a field of neutrals. It's the 'red' that gives this piece - life, and meaning.
The basket measures 15.5' wide x 1.5" deep.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Emma and I visited Helen Dimos's garden

Emma and I were invited to a Helen's garden over the weekend. After I took photographs, and she "tended" to details, we sat and watched shafts of light penetrate the deepening shadows. (Emma had been off leash the whole time and no plants were destroyed! I was proud of her.) The day before we went to visit, it had rained. Helen gave us these peonies to take home.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day flowers

As a hostess gift, I brought flowers from the garden. There were alliums, wild phlox, Miss Kim lilacs and Japanese Snowball Vibernum clusters, but they were a bit too floppy and don't show in this photo.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A peak at my front porch and garden

This is what I see when I stand on my front porch and look out over my front "yard." Right now the white and purple alliums are just peaking, as are the mountain bells (blue). Emma is my constant companion. She doesn't look like her normal 84 pounds, though the summer haircut did slim her down a lot.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If you're interested in my career before baskets ...

You can go read an article I wrote: I will be adding pages to this in the future by adding articles and images by other contemporary basketmakers, such as Jan Hopkins and Kate Anderson.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Kamatanishiki'

"When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden."
quote by Minnie Aumonier

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Iris cristata. Dwarf Crested Iris

As these little iris bloom, so are the lilacs, wisteria, viburnam Carlesii,lily of the valley and two shades of pink dogwooks, also
the wild blue ground cover phlox, yellow celandine poppies and the money plants. The alliums are just moments away from bursting. Soon there will be a fireworks displays of lavender-purple and
clusters of star-like white pompoms.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The magic of hellebores is that they bloom before the other flowers when the ground is still muted with last fall's leaves. These burst forth promising life and color, and remind us that the garden is just beginning to wake up, and to be patient.

Emma with Anemones and Ginger

The "fluff" to the left of the flowers is Emma's butt. Gardening with a dog has mixed rewards.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Smithsonian Craft Show

I will be attending a juried craft fair sponsored by the Smithsonian Women's Committee, in Washington, DC. The preview night gala is April 22nd, then the show opens to the public on Thursday, April 23rd. (This is the mailer they are sending out to invite patrons to the Preview Night Benefit. That's my basket above!) for more information and hours, please visit their website.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New round and hairy basket - "Color/Joy"

I'm preparing for a juried craft show next weekend --
I'll be bringing this new basket. It's 8" x 9.5" and is woven using hundreds of short pieces of dyed rattan reed, which are inserted as I weave the structure.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Getting ready for Craft Boston

We're a little distracted right now, so we hope that you'll come back in a few days when we have a better handle on things. In the meantime, if you go to:
you'll see what's been keeping us so busy.
Thanks, Kari and Emma
Coming soon - just as soon as I figure out HOW