This book unfolds a history of American basketry, from its origins in Native American, immigrant, and slave communities to its contemporary presence in the fine art world. Ten contributing authors from different areas of expertise, plus over 250 photos, insightfully show how baskets convey meaning through the artists' selection of materials; the techniques they use; and the colors, designs, patterns, and textures they employ. Accompanying a museum exhibition of the same name, the book illustrates how the processes of industrialization changed the audiences, materials, and uses for basketry. It also surveys the visual landscape of basketry today; while some contemporary artists seek to maintain and revive traditions practiced for centuries, others combine age-old techniques with nontraditional materials to generate cultural commentary. This comprehensive treasury will be of vital interest to artists, collectors, curators, and historians of American basketry, textiles, and sculpture.
Kristin Schwain is Associate Professor of American Art at the University of Missouri. A scholar of nineteenth and twentieth century material and visual culture, Schwain specializes in American art and religion, art of the African diaspora, and American mass and vernacular cultures.
Josephine Stealey is an artist, curator, and Professor of Art at the University of Missouri. A nationally recognized artist in the contemporary basketry movement, she also teaches workshops across the country; juries exhibitions; and lectures on contemporary American basketry both nationally and internationally.