Sunday, 10 July 2011

Tri and Leaf

Log Basket II

Issigeac, in the Dordogne, is three hours each way from here and on Monday I made the journey there and back to deliver and install 11 new pieces (one of which is a tower of five baskets so it is really 16 new pieces) in the Salles du Caveau of the Chateau. I have been working on this body of work since the beginning of the year for this exhibition that I have called “Tri and Leaf” 
There were other pieces that I rejected at the last minute, but they will emerge when I have more time to resolve some problems on them. These are technical but they usually manifest themselves as aesthetic ones.  Because I do not buy materials and use only those that I have, can find, or grow, it always take time to resolve these problems.

Some of these pieces were direct follow-ons from previous work, altering the technique but not necessarily the form or the materials and some went in new directions. This was deliberate as France is a new and in many ways tricky audience for my baskets, so I needed a few pieces that I knew would work. Both the basket making and the artistic cultures are very different in France to Britain. This is a direct consequence of the educational and tax systems operating  in very different ways which results in  the artist/maker or designer/maker being  a fairly unusual concept in France. The norm is that one is either a fine artist or an artisan or a designer but seldom the mixed up version that I am.

The exhibition is on for a month and we shall see what the reaction is…

Chair and laundry basket

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Urban Baskets in the Netherlands

Laundry basket 1995

'Urban Baskets' opened at the National Vlechtmuseum in the Netherlands on Saturday where it will be on show until the 23rd of October. I was not there because the ‘opening’ will not be until the end of September. Esme Hoffman,  superb basket maker and a curator at the Vlechtmuseum told me they had learnt that openings  and workshops were all better attended once the exhibition had been up and running for a while, an innovative approach that  makes sense to me. So, I will be going there for a few days at the end of September, beginning of October to teach and talk and have a chance to look at the museum.

Not having shown my work in the Netherlands before it is difficult to gauge how it will be received there, but we have now had the statistics for the showing in North Wales and because the exhibition was split between two libraries and most of the people going into the libraries had to walk past the exhibition the visitor statistics are impressive! 11,000 in  Ruthin and 15,000 in Denbigh which added to the 6,000 at Walford Mill means that at least 34,000 people have seen Urban Baskets over the last 10 months, even if all they did was walk past it! We don’t have the Shetland statistics yet.