my practice is centred around a sense of time and place, especially the contemporary plant world in Sydney
 

Basketry and Fibre Art

My interest in basketry and fibre art is a mid-life coming together of different areas in my life. Travel. I lived for 7 years in Latin America in my 20s and early 30s and it feels like I have been looking at basketry and weaving and craft all around the globe for a long time. I am drawn to the artistry and colour and how living arts relate so closely to people’s lives – often women’s.

As a long time feminist I have been very interested in women’s development projects, which help women earn a realistic income through their art and craftwork.  I also love plants and became quite a digger when I finally settled down in Sydney in my early thirties.   On a whim I took a basketry weekend workshop with Meri Peach in 2011 at the Botanical Gardens.  I haven’t stopped since then.

 photo:  Lisa Tilse

photo:  Lisa Tilse

At the moment my practice is centred around a sense of time and place, especially the contemporary plant world about us in Sydney.  I am trying to use traditional techniques from basketry while embracing our current range of domestic, native and non-native plants – these don’t feature in other places or times.   I am interested in documenting the plant world we live in and moving away from more functional basketry pieces.  The inspiration is definitely from the plant world around me in Sydney but the forms are drawn from all domains of life – how people live and what they choose to have around them to give their environment beauty and meaning. Lately I like the idea of hanging work – baskets, flat pieces, wall sculpture and pendants.  I like the notion of bringing the natural world into our interior landscapes and beautifying and texturizing our living and working spaces.  It is also making a statement about valuing artisanal objects and considering them as art works worthy of putting on our walls. Not everyone realizes that all baskets are handmade and that the gathering, drying, soaking and weaving process takes considerable time.  The politics of the slow craft/ slow stitch movements have great resonance for me. 

I have lived in Sydney’s Inner West for over twenty years and nearly all of my materials are gathered or grown in the local area.  Sydney is a very green city with a wonderful climate for gardening and harvesting leaves and vines all year around.  The sustainable element of my work brings me great joy. Fibre choice celebrates Sydney’s diverse plant life and I like to use whole, recognisable fibres whenever I can, juxtaposing indigenous plants, exotics and, yes, even ‘weeds’. I use basketry techniques that will showcase the beautiful fibres, rather than the other way around.  Sculptural ideas are driven very much by the inherent sculptural qualities of each fibre. 

Not everyone realizes that all baskets are handmade and that the gathering, drying, soaking and weaving process takes considerable time.  The politics of the slow craft/ slow stitch movements have great resonance for me. 

Sales :  Currently my work is sold in several Sydney gallery shops, as well as the Australian Design Centre’s shop, ObjectWoodpapersilk at Lewisham , Kristina Brenke at Palm Beach and The Happenstore at Annandale all have a range of pieces.

Current Exhibitions:  I am a member of Basketry NSW and exhibit in annual exhibitions.

In March 2017 I exhibited with Brenda Livermore at Project Space in North Sydney, and had a piece selected for the North Sydney Art Prize exhibition at the Coal Loader. During Sydney Craft Week I participated in Artisans in the Gardens at the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney from 14 to 21 October.