Willow Talk

photo by Shannon Tofts

We visited London in May for the Collect show at the Saatchi Gallery. While there, we had a chance to speak with journalist Emma Crichton-Miller about the fiber art field for an article on the state of contemporary basket weaving – not just in the U.K., but also in Europe, the US and elsewhere. The article, Willow Talk, appeared in the July-August 2009 issue of Crafts magazine. and in it, Crichton-Miller offers a positive prognosis for the art of basketry in the U.K. In the article, Crichton-Miller tracks the growing appreciation in the U.K. for basketry as an art form, comparing artists like Ed Rossbach and John McQueen in the U.S., Markku Kosonen in Finland and Shouchiko Tanabe of Japan, with artists like Lizzie Farey of the U.K., Joe Hogan of Ireland and Dail Behennah, Lois Walpole, Shuna Rendel and Mary Butcher of the U.K., for whom recognition has been more recently won. “Basketry, in an artist’s hands, becomes as richly metaphorical as any craft,” Crichton-Miller observes. Listing a series of solo and group exhibits, including East Meets West: Basketry from Japan & Britain and European Baskets, Crichton-Miller predicts that basket-weaving in the U.K., as in America, Europe and Japan, seems ready to leave behind “its hobby status, its nostalgia for the past, to join the contemporary conversation.”

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