Sherri West

A lot of my growing up years were spent living in Arizona and my weaving still seems to reflect that sense of place.  I invite people to pick up my baskets and cradle them in their hands.  The packed waxed linen forms can have the feel and presence of hardened clay pottery.

I have been making baskets since the mid 1970’s when I discovered “off loom weaving” in a tapestry class at the University of Arizona, and then became self taught through the few basket making books available at that time.  My BFA was in Art Education and I went on to teach art in public schools, but I never stopped making baskets or learning about culture and plants through basket makers. Depending on what part of the country I lived in, I worked with date palm, pine needle, dogwood, yucca, birch, and willow.  My current work is primarily in twined waxed linen.

I now live in the Minneapolis metro area and am a Board Member at the nationally recognized Textile Center.  My work has been exhibited at the Textile Center and I was recently honored to have pieces included in a traveling show entitled “Land by Hand,” (2011-12).  I also sell my work in my community’s annual studio tour.

Artist Statement

For me, basket making is a tactile experience that weaves together materials and time—the patience and pride in workmanship that is often missing in our fast paced lives.  I like to think that my pieces help to give value and meaning to traditional “women’s work” as well as add beauty to our world.

As a student of Anthropology and Native American basketry and history, I recognize the power of hand made cultural objects.  They can represent the beliefs, values, aesthetics, and needs of that culture in a place and time.

I appreciate the opportunity to continue that tradition and encourage all other basket makers in that pursuit.

Sherri West

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