Katie Gingrass Gallery

Joan Brink

In terms of placing myself within the craft and tradition of basketry, I occupy that corner dedicated to the Lightship baskets originating on Nantucket Island, MA. It is with this form and method that I have concerned myself over the past decade. Very important in my development as a basket weaver has been my on-going inspiration by American Indian baskets. In the 1970's I began weaving coiled baskets influenced by Marvin Cohodas, a skilled weaver and an authority on the baskets of Dat so la lee. A master weaver and designer from the Washoe tribe early in the 20th century, her work touched my creative spirit above all others, inspiring me to reach toward the perfection of the craft in the context of my own artistic vision. Coming from a basketry tradition (Nantucket) known generally more for style or function than content, it is no wonder that I found the design and color of American Indian basketry inspirational. For me the creation of a simple language of symbols led to a fascination with the basket as a rich vehicle for narrative content. The idea or story for each vessel is expressed through select colorful symbols: the evolving object becomes imbued with the idea during the month- long meditation of weaving. The shapes of the baskets have become full and embody curves born out of the application of sacred geometry. I feel the baskets succeed when there is harmonious balance between shape, materials, design and symbolic content. When this happens the woven vessels are empowered with the beauty to which I aspire and which I found early-on in the masterpieces of Dat so la lee. Although my baskets embrace tradition, they also step quietly beyond.