Carolyn Zeitler

I graduated from San Jose State University in 1976 with a degree in ceramics and weaving. When I began working as a United State Forest Service fire lookout in Big Sur in 1979, I started making baskets with the native Coulter Pine needles. My baskets evolved, as a kind of marriage, combining my two loves – clay and fiber.

I have worked exclusively with pine needles for over 30 years because they are so simplistic and straightforward. My only tools are my hands and a needle. The repetitive rhythm of the stitches becomes a kind of meditation. It’s amazing that one can take a material as mundane as a pine needle and create something that celebrates its beauty and strength. There are inherent limitations to the medium that create a challenge to search beyond its boundaries for something that reflects both the tradition of craft and the innovation of art. In the spring of 2016, I spent three months in Japan studying the language and absorbing the culture. My newer works incorporate my love of Japanese language, Japanese calligraphy, haiku, papermaking and pine needles, of course. It opens up for me a whole new way of using color, text and design that was not possible just using pine needles.

 It is my hope that when people look at my baskets, they will begin to look at pine needles and the beauty of trees in a whole new way.

Website:  Carolyn Zeitler

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