New Basketry

New basketry emerged on the scene in the 1960s during an explosion of interest in all craft media. Artists were influenced by a confluence of factors, including the back-to-the-landers’ creation of hand-made products, the feminist movement’s celebration of traditional crafts as art, and experimentation with architecturally-scaled textiles. Due to these factors artist and curator, Mary Butcher concluded, basketry became “. . . one of the most vital movements to emerge in the United States in the middle of the twentieth century.”

Ed Rossbach, who coined the term ‘New Basketry’, also helped forge this art movement. As a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, he introduced basketry into the art curriculum and facilitated its introduction into contemporary art. His study of global weaving and textile traditions, both historical and contemporary, reflected his philosophy that baskets were as sculptural and architectural as the cast bronzes that adorn an art museum and the skyscrapers that populate a metropolitan cityscape. He explored space and volume to create forms with discarded materials gathered through “urban foraging.” Through his generous spirit, he inspired students and colleagues, including Joanne Segal Brandford, Lillian Elliott, Pat Hickman, and Gyöngy Laky and others, who made California a hotbed of innovation that spread across the entire United States.

Exhibiting “New Basketry” Artists: