A chance trip to Asheville's River Arts District brought an art collector and interior designer / Pastor's wife into my studio in December 2015. After some wonderful conversation, their interest centered on the beautiful fireplace mantel displayed in the studio.
Today, January 27, 2016 I had the privilege of delivering and installing the piece in their beautiful new church building located in Knoxville, TN. As you can see from the pictures, this fireplace mantel sculpture is right at home among the stacked stone and timber mantel. I hope they enjoy it for years to come!
It never fails. Every time I create a commissioned work for a home, another client comes in and says something like "Oh my gosh, I've just got to have it!" I laugh and say "Well, I'm sorry, but that one is sold. However, I'd love to make you something in that same style!" That's what happened here and I thought it turned out really beautifully!
This 7 piece sculptural collection was created for a client of mine who has homes in New Jersey and here in Asheville. They enjoy the serenity and natural beauty of our mountain landscape and wanted to have art in their home that enhanced their modern rustic aesthetic. Sculptural baskets are a great way to do that because my work is created from 100% locally harvested natural materials like bark, vines and branches but it doesn't stop there. Over the 23 years I've been creating sculptural art baskets, I've learned to refine the materials in such a way that they honor nature but also really take it up a notch into what I call rustic elegance.
For those of you who might be wondering "how does a collection like this stay together", let me share some insider secrets. Almost all the baskets are wired together with the main bark and wire piece as the anchor. I then added the branch to the left, wiring that basket on and then everything else falls into place. This make it easy to clean and transport to a different location, if needed. Dusting you ask? Forced air or feather dusters always do the trick and are easy on the materials.
For more of my sculptural art baskets, check out my current inventory page or some of my other featured work like fireplace mantel sculptures, tabletop collections or wall hangings. I'd love to create something special like this for your home, too!
Matt Tommey is a sculptural basketry artist working in Asheville, North Carolina's River Arts District.