Shannon Lucas Westrum
It took me many years to learn that for me, being a MAKER, someone who makes things with their hands, is not a hobby, and its not an occupation. Its my way of living. As long as I can remember, I have had a need to make things.
My love of texture and fibers started around the time I convinced our elderly babysitter to teach me to crochet. Since then, I have studied beading, painting, drawing, warm and cold glass work, metallurgy, collage, jewelry making, and many fiber arts.
In 2000, I found a local basket weaver who taught Community Education classes. Before long, I had joined the local guild and started weaving at home as well. As my weaving skill progressed, I began to experiment with materials from paper and plastic industrial strapping to antler and driftwood. My primary materials of choice at this time are round reed (rattan) or willow.
I am now on a journey exploring the traditional materials and techniques of basket making as they apply to modern applications.
In respecting and learning the traditions basket makers before me, I am celebrating a centuries old craft. While using their techniques to create modern interpretations, I am perpetuating basket making and basketry for the future.Designed around the antler of a white-tailed deer, my work is ever changing as I learn to highlight the strength and the curves of my subjects. I am creating an almost seamless flow from nature to man made. Each exceptional piece of basketry based on the antler’s shape. I love pieces that showcase the individual tines, or points, to each antler. The amazing challenge in working with antlers is that the antler itself defines the finished shape of every piece. I begin each basket with a general composition in mind - I balance the antlers, roll them, and lay them on their sides before I know where to start. The key to any piece is to let it tell you the shape it wants to take -and then to know when to finish! As the artist I must trust the basket, and the antler, to show me the way.