Gathering Basket by artist Ane Lyngsgaard

Over the years, my work has become less functional and more sculptural, but it is the practical baskets I like to scatter throughout my home for daily use. I love the warm, organic soulfulness they radiate, as well as their utility. I respond to honest, earthy objects in my environment that possess a living essence: wood, brick, stone, hand built ceramics, woven natural fibers.

This fine piece, woven by Danish artist, Ane Lyngsgaard, is currently my favorite gathering basket. I admire its elegant curves and sturdy willow construction. It emits a feminine quality and the excellent craftsmanship echoes its traditional roots and gives assurance to its durability. It is simply very beautiful to me, a satisfying receptacle in which to collect the fruits of my garden and I love it. When not in use it resides in my kitchen, emanating its quiet loveliness.

Throughout this pandemic I thought I would spend far more time in the studio creating new work. Instead, lingering amongst plantings, butterflies and birdsong, the garden has been my refuge. Kneeling against the earth with my hands sifting through soil has been entirely comforting and joyful, a safe place in an ill world. I am grateful for the fortune of this garden refuge… and abundance of beautiful baskets.

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.