Large Vessel

Throughout history, people have taken materials at hand to craft items of necessity and beauty. To create is a human compulsion, and in my case manifests in woven vessels. Artistic expression and the natural world combine happily for me in basketry. When not outdoors manipulating organic materials in the garden, I’m most often found in my studio weaving them into ideas that take vessel form.

During this time of social isolation, with canceled shows and workshops no longer demanding my attention, creating work without deadlines has been freeing and more experimental. I am enjoying the luxury of extra time to explore new possibilities that beckon. This piece came out of one of those periods of experimentation when I gave myself permission to invest two months in one large vessel. It is one of my favorites.

Jennifer Zurick

Jennifer Zurick is a self-taught artist specializing in black willow bark which she has been harvesting and weaving into baskets since 1980. She is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship and two Kentucky Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships. Zurick has traveled to Ecuador and Japan as a cultural exchange artist and was honored with a Kentucky 2017 Governor's Award in the Arts. Her work resides in a number of museum collections, including the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and has won prizes and awards at national shows and exhibitions. She has exhibited her baskets internationally and created special commissions for Spanish firm Loewe (2019 Salone del Mobile Milano) and Irthi Contemporary Craft Council in Sharjah, UAE (2019 London Design Fair).

I aspire to create simple, elegant woven vessels that possess a richness of spirit and a presence embodying the soul of the tree from which they came. A fascination with old tribal textiles, finely woven functional containers and ancient processes fuels my inclination to manipulate fiber. Employing various weaving techniques to inject texture and rhythmic design elements, I draw significantly upon the inspiration of early Native American and contemporary Japanese basketry. As my work evolves, I am compelled to create more intricate, textile-like sculptural forms, finding great satisfaction in emulating the art and integrity of fine basketry.