Sherri_West_Portrait_square.jpg

I like being called a basket maker.  What I do utilizes the historical techniques of basketry, but in a more contemporary sculptural way.  Basket makers must be painstakingly patient and have a deep understanding of nature, using natural materials in a sustainable way.  I like to think that what I do honors basket makers throughout history, the natural environment, and what has historically been considered traditional “women’s work.”

I learned “off loom weaving” techniques when I was in college in the 1970’s studying to become an art teacher at the University of Arizona.  Instantly I loved the feel of making “something from nothing” with my hands and a few simple materials.  I worked to learn traditional basketry techniques and craftsmanship that I could be proud of.  I was in awe of the Native American baskets by master weavers where I grew up in the southwest and became a collector.  

It didn’t take long for me to try basket making techniques using my own found materials and to want to express myself through what I created. My baskets have evolved from the traditional to the more sculptural, and I enjoy innovating and stretching the limits of the techniques to shape sculptural forms and to tell a story that creates response in my audience.  

With a recent move from Minnesota to southern California, I am again enjoying exploring basketry traditions of indigenous people, history, culture and landscape.  Life near fire charred and then poppy covered hills and learning from beach walks has inspired in me a wealth of new stories to tell.  Look for my new work:  twined linen Ochre Sea Stars (beginning to come back after loss from disease), coiled fiber Wavy Turban Shells (how does nature make such amazing shapes?) and my pictorial Forest Flames Flood basket.