When I moved to Western Massachusetts some thirty-odd years ago, I started collecting birds’ nests. They seemed to satisfy some fascination. And when I enrolled in a basket making class some few years later, I realized that I had found my own kind of nest creation. My baskets start with the rims. Vines, roots or branches suggest the size and shape of the basket, which leads organically to the creation of its form. The making of every basket is a process of following nature’s lead.
In contrast to the woody materials of the baskets, the silk fiber that I use in a fusion technique, much like paper-making, has broad color potential, but no predetermined shape. Natural and dyed silk fibers are fused in layers of rich, reflective tones and color, with embellishments of other elements from nature like leaves, moth wings, fern fronds, pine needles and even porcupine quills. The layering and shaping of silk into vessels is a very different and yet complimentary process from basketry—mutable, flexible and colorful.
Together, these two crafts allow me to explore nature’s possibilities.