Gabrielle Powell | Basket Maker
Handmade | Recycled | Upcycled | Cobargo NSW
BEHIND THE WORK
For me its all about the making, weaving and stitching of each product as the recycled materials are combined with the intricate hand making techniques.The upcycled materials are paired with my skills to create original quality pieces that are a joy to live with.
The craft of making beautiful basketry and ceramics are both humble occupations and they are amongst the oldest crafts practised around the world.
Mid 1980s I completed BA Visual Art and wanted to establish my studio. In 1990 we moved to our property on the outskirts of Cobargo and I established Bandicoot Pottery with my partner Daniel Lafferty. We worked together in partnership for many years - Daniel throwing pots and I was the decorator.
Since 2005 I have moved away from ceramics with enthusiasm into textiles and basketry, inspired to make baskets professionally. For me, basketry is a therapeutic un-wind from my busy work life as a community welfare worker. I stitch the thoughts of each day into my baskets and enjoy experimenting and developing my skills along the way.
The foundation of the new form is the base and the start of shaping with decorative stitching; a repetitive pattern of diagonal lines. The structure of the baskets is visible; each stitch forms the surface texture combined with colours give the basket character. The most vulnerable part the rim as it is subject to wear and tear and a place to fasten off loose ends. For me lids are a symbol of keeping things private and safe as well as decorative.
Since I was a child I loved trips to the rubbish tip with my dad and then later my partner!! I am an active scavenger, bringing things home from the tip, holidays or collecting useful treasures to incorporate into my next basket. I like the challenge of making baskets out of unconventional materials such as tubing, cabling, plastic, wire; recycling materials that would normally be discarded. Used materials are changed into new products, reducing the need to consume more resources. Recycling is important to me as it helps conserve important raw materials for the future.
Ceramics is my love. Last year I started making pots again. Unfortunately our studio was lost in the 2019 NYE Fires in Cobargo and now closely followed by the Covid-19 virus - I am working on new creative ways to keep making, promote and sell my work.