Back when I started making baskets in college, I was simply making functional baskets as a personal hobby during my free time. Since then, I have continued to develop my skills in basketry. From trying new weaving techniques and materials, my sculptures have evolved from early, basic shapes to the more contemporary and freeform baskets that you see in my gallery today.
Creating Art for the Wall:
New Developments in Style:
For the people who have been following my work for a few years, their has been a more accelerated development since I delved into creating sculptures for the wall. This has led me to utilize more styles in my weaving and sculpting than I had done so before. While I had worked with a lot of different barks and vines before, I began using them for new reasons and in new ways. The idea of my baskets being nests has expanded my exploration of what the materials I use, can actually be used to do.
Copper leaves and wire, thick grapevine, of course kudzu, and found objects are a part of my wall hangings in a different way than they are a part of my tabletop pieces and fireplace mantel sculptures. These art baskets hanging on the wall have a loftiness new and different than my other pieces, and because of that, I started using new techniques to explore ways to create new styles.
Now using clay and natural fibers and grasses, I have started making some more nest-like sculptures. I began using this new material in reaction to this new view of what my baskets serve to represent. Though the initial inspiration for the creations remain unchanged, the development of those new ideas requires listening to the intuitions and creative voices encouraging me to try new things with my basket art.
Without pushing the boundaries with anything, there is no way to improve and discover new opportunities and inspirations. I encourage anyone to do the same. Taking risks and listening to the creative intuition in your head is the first and best way to evolve your craft, whatever that may be.
Matt Tommey is a sculptural basketry artist working in Asheville, North Carolina's River Arts District.