Most of my inspiration for individual pieces comes from the materials themselves. I'm always collecting anything with possibilities; but there are lots of basketmakers whose work I find inspiring, both contemporary and traditional. One of the first basketmakers I took a workshop with, was Nancy Moore Bess. The spare textures and patterns she can get from a single color of waxed linen cord has always fascinated me and I love her Asian sense of form. In addition to Nancy, Jackie Abrams is also a favorite in both the LA and San Diego basket guilds. Both are popular not only for their work but also as generous and engaging teachers. JoAnn Kelly Catsos, a black ash basketmaker in the southern Berkshires, is very traditional; her sense of form and incredible precision has made her another favorite of mine. Kari Lonning, located in SE Connecticut, continuously inspires me with the wild and colorful forms she manages to coax out of simple round reed. JoAnne Russo, with her aggressively bold and colorful baskets, was one of my early favorites from back in my first class.
It's becoming obvious I could easily fill a page with just the names of my basket heroes.
Judy Mulford founded our LA Basketry Guild and Leah Danberg was our president and lived within walking distance of my home there.
She creates her whimsical, text-covered, knotted figures completely out of her head with without ever sketching or grafting the text.
Nadine Spier was another early favorite for her freeform pine needle coiling. I'll end by saying that Jill Nordfors Clark teaches the most fun basket class I've ever taken.
Who could not be inspired by a woman who would give up her crown as the undisputed queen of needle lace... to make baskets out of hog gut!
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