BaskeTrees : NBO Mentor Program at NBO Conference

NBO Mentor Program–Sponsored by Polly Allen, on behalf of the National Basketry Organization.

Here is something to watch for during the upcoming NBO Conference at Macalester College July 14 through July 17.  Karen Gubitz, a Chicago-based fiber and mixed media sculptor will create an outdoor, public art sculpture on the grounds of Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota during the NBO’s Tradition and Innovation VIII Conference, July, 2015. The sculpture is site-specific and will be woven with traditional basketry techniques, methods and natural materials, utilizing trees as their primary means of support. The Mentor Program is an invitation to 4 students from Macalester College to join Karen in the construction of this installation.

The Project will include discussions of transformation of space and the integration of art into daily lives, the interaction of art with community, culture and the environment and artistic statements of conservation and sustainability. Students will learn to use certain traditional basketry techniques and traditional natural and sustainable materials in the construction of a large scale sculpture while exploring the woven form. Students will be required to write a Reflection Paper, in consultation with the mentor, by September 1, 2016.

The construction of this Project will take place during conference workshop hours, 9:30am – 5pm, beginning on July 14 through July 17. Students will be encouraged to share meals and attend evening programs with the rest of the conference participants, lending a helping hand when needed. Students may apply for this through the Macalester Art Department and will receive a stipend or room and board in exchange for their assistance.

Karen Gubitz Portrait

Karen Gubitz is a self-taught, nature-inspired, fiber sculptor. She has developed her techniques and methods connecting with various skilled weavers and artisans around the United States. Realizing that her passion lay in creating art, 3 1/2 years ago, Karen retired from her full time law career to begin her life as a full time artist. Over the last 3 1/2 years she has been accepted into and won several awards at various fine art exhibits, galleries and fine craft shows around the country, including, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, Bridgeport Art Center, Chicago, Illinois, Lewis University, Wadsworth Family Gallery (solo show), Romeoville, Illinois, The Washington Craft Show, Washington DC (Collector’s Award), Michigan Fine Art Competition 2014 (Third Prize), CraftBoston, Boston, Massachusetts (Artist’s Choice Award), the American Craft Exposition in Evanston, Illinois and Water Street Gallery, Batavia, Illinois (Honorable Mention), Laumeier Sculpture Park Fine Art Fair (Award of Merit) and Oak Park Art League (Best in Show). Her site-specific, public art installations focus on trees, live, dead and dying. Her work has been included in the Chicago Tree Project, the Oak Park Sculpture Walk 2014, ArtPrize 2014 (top 20 installations) and the BaskeTree Project, a site-specific installation of 16 woven trees in the Oak Park Arts District, partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.