Here's a piece that I recently created for a beautiful home in Brevard, North Carolina. One of the unique features of this piece is the shallowness of the depth; only 7". Most mantels are around 10-14" deep, allowing plenty of room to create a fireplace mantel sculpture with plenty of depth. This area provided a real challenge for me as I endeavored to create a piece that was both beautiful, full of interest and would fit the space!
This fireplace mantel sculpture is a collection of 3 traditional hen baskets that were randomly woven with a mixture of bark and vines. In addition, these baskets were accented with a collection of smaller baskets and hand-hammered copper leaves that we make from old gutters and flashing. Even though the space was tight, this piece really shines with lots of interest and texture.
Most of my work is created specifically for luxury mountain homes here in Western North Carolina and places like Aspen, Northern California, Montana and the like. However, from time to time, clients will request I create pieces to be featured in more contemporary spaces like condos and lofts. It's always a fun challenge for me. Here's a couple of woven wall hangings using branches and single vessels I've created for these kinds of spaces, including Atlanta, Georgia, Asheville, North Carolina and Lake Keowee, South Carolina.
Creating organic, woven sculpture that looks more like it was found than created is what I love to do! It's a visual stimulant for the viewer and allows my clients to have the beauty of nature right there in their home.
This piece featured above was commissioned by a client from Sea Island, Georgia / Highlands, North Carolina for their home at the coast. Since I use natural materials harvested from my clients property to create these works (if available), I was happy to incorporate a live oak branch from their Sea Island property as the foundation for this piece. The beauty of the bark and lichen really brought the piece alive!
You'll also notice a real birds nest (featured center left) and spanish moss which was also harvested by the client from their property. All of these little additions make the piece feel like home and nested in place.
As with many of my woven collections, I've also added a variety of baskets accented with copper leaves, clay pods and encaustic wax. This beautiful collection will be right at home on a wonderful antique sideboard in the dining room, enjoyed by family and guests for years to come!
Matt Tommey is a sculptural basketry artist working in Asheville, North Carolina's River Arts District.