For me, it's never been about basketry. My connection with creating organic sculpture that's based in basketry has always been about the materials. Since being a college student at the University of Georgia, I've been enamored with nature and the opportunity to literally walk in the woods, harvest rough vines, bark, branches and then transform them into something beautiful.
Recently, I had a client comment on a piece I created for their mountain home here in Western North Carolina saying "Matt, how do you do this? It's like these pieces you create are literally growing out of the forest... Almost like you found them rather than created them." What better compliment could I ask for?
I love everything about living in the mountains, but especially the relaxing yet elegant outdoor spaces featured in many of the homes for which I am privileged to create art.
What a joy it is to have the pleasure of working with such delightful homeowners! I absolutely love visiting beautiful homes here in the mountains, dreaming with my clients about what I could create for them and then harvesting materials right from their property.
The piece featured here is a 7' wall hanging that graces the fireplace of an outdoor party pavilion on a private estate at the top of Chatooga Club in Cashiers, North Carolina. This is the first of several I am creating for the home and it was such fun! In fact, the owner of the property and I walked around the forest on my initial site visit to find just the right pieces of mountain laurel for this sculpture. I hope you enjoy! PS... keep an eye out for a blog post on the next piece I'm doing for the outdoor fireplace on the porch of the main residence.
I'm proud to announce the publication of my 4th book "Every Basket Begins with a Walk in the Woods: Sculptural Works by Matt Tommey". This beautiful 8.5"x8.5" soft-cover book is a visual journey through my basketry work since 1993 including 84 pages of full-color images and poetic reflections on the creative process. Perfect for lovers of art, basket enthusiasts and artists alike. Available now on Amazon.com or as an autographed edition through my website.
Did you know I have other books as well? Check them out here.
Thanks to the talented eye of interior designer Joan Anderson, I am pleased to have my work featured once again in the exclusive Cashiers, North Carolina Designer Show house.
Joan designed the kitchen and featured one of my signature open weave basket, inspired by Tasmanian aboriginal baskets and Japanese bamboo baskets. It's made from kudzu and poplar bark, dyed with black walnut dye and infused with encaustic wax. Here are a few pictures:
Matt Tommey is a sculptural basketry artist working in Asheville, North Carolina's River Arts District.