On the Wall
Lauderdale House, Highgate, London
5 - 17 April 2011
This review by Kathy Clark appeared in the Basketmakers’ Association Newsletter
“An excellent title for this, the second exhibition by the innovative group Basketry Plus.
By the time you read this the exhibition will have been taken down so I attempt here to give you a flavour of what was 'On the Wall'. Joyce Hicks, apart from the title piece, used snow gum leaves, Eucalyptus pauciflora, collected from the RHS Garden, Wisley in Surrey to make plaited beads and also explored looping techniques as used by the indigenous peoples of Australia, Oceania and South America in giant nettle fibre to make a bag.
Norma Adam's inspiration comes from organic forms in the plant and animal kingdoms and the pieces exhibited were constructed from random weave and split ply braid. Norma likes her pieces to evolve with surprising twists and turns as can be seen in the piece below.
I found all the exhibits interesting and exciting but was captivated by a piece inspired by the Quilt exhibition at the V & A by Elaine Kingsford, who usually makes one-off pieces impossible to repeat. Her 'Patchwork' uses coloured wire, decorated with buttons, brooches and other collected treasures.
Margaret Sparks returned to the use of more natural materials for this exhibition and made use of bark and rush in a variety of plaiting techniques, and netting with wire and found objects.
Maggie Smith had focused on willow, exploring the material in great depth. She likes to collaborate with it; growing, harvesting and deconstructing. This gives her an intimate knowledge of the material, which she then constructs in various ways using her craft skills.
Joan West used paper threads and experimented with several netting stitches, achieving unusual textures and shapes. The bag-like forms, or nests, lack solidity but still provide hidden spaces, labyrinths, screened exits and entrances.
Geraldine Poore has used watercolour paper combined with plaiting techniques and continues to work in willow inspired by modernist shapes and abstract forms. Many other exhibits were provided by the rest of the group bur sadly there is not room the describe all of them here, but information on the group can be seen at www.basketryplus.org, and I look forward to their next show."