My name is Priscilla Smith. As a textile artist, I focus my art on “social justice” and “anti-war” issues. My art is designed to provoke thought and emotion; to raise consciousness; and to galvanize change. The processes and materials I use are often designed to generate discomfort, sadness, disgust, and shock on the part of the viewer.
So.... this past October, when faced with an upcoming knee replacement, I thought to myself “how wonderful......I’ll have all this time while recuperating to continue making my art, including finishing recently begun pieces on racism; peace and war; gun control; and the Aleppo horrors.
WRONG......OH SO WRONG......during my hospital stay; my 2 week in-patient rehabilitation stay; and now 3 weekly outpatient physical therapy sessions (along with my daily exercise sessions), I found that not only could I not focus on this work for more than a few minutes, but all I wanted to do was completely forget about it. All I wanted to do was use my beautiful materials to make small baskets.
As I spoke with Marianne, one of my physical therapists, about the fact that my operated on knee felt “warm” all the time, she said to me, “There’s a reason it feels warm. Just imagine all those wonderful little red blood cells constantly rushing from all parts of your body bringing their healing to that injured knee.” I loved the image and thought those little red blood cells don’t want to be trying to crawl through images of war and cruelty and mean-spiritedness. It makes their work so much easier to travel through the images of baskets made with beautiful forms and colors and materials. So much easier for them to travel through these baskets filled with loving healing energy made by my own hands.
Her description of these wonderful healing red blood cells rushing to help filled me with awe about the workings of our human bodies. And helped me to know that at this point in my life, my work with the topics I’ve focused on in the past, needs to be put on hold. Instead I need to and will make lovely small baskets to support not only my own healing but the healing needed throughout our country and the world.
BASIC DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING BASKETS
- Find a sandwich size baggie (i.e., used to store food and sandwiches)
- Completely cover the rice filled baggie with scotch tape, shaping it as you cover
- Create a base of thread around the baggie, weaving in and out as you go; basic white string can be used. For a first basket, it is probably best to cover the space with this base thread about 75 - 80%
- When completed, cut the top of the baggie open; pour out the rice; and the baggie.
- And there you are.....a beautiful basket.
- These can be further embellished with beading; adding natural materials; etc.
For others, the Art Cloth Network, of which I am a member, asks that each member contribute to our blog on a yearly basis. Hope you enjoy my blog write-up. I have been asked to share it (and the baskets) tomorrow (Dec 23) morning at my physical therapy session.