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Hats On

1988 Linda Bills Born: New York, New York 1943 tulip poplar bark, twigs, and waxed linen thread assembled: 8 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in. (21.6 x 29.8 x 29.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Theodore Cohen in memory of his mother and her sisters: Rose Melmon Cohen, Blanche Melmon, Mary Melmon Greenberg and Fanny Melmon Liberman 1998.122.3A-B Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 54B

Luce Center Quote

"In 1980, I was introduced to bark as a material that had been used in traditional basket making. From the beginning I was smitten with its natural beauty, also I loved that I could gather it in nearby woods, for nothing. Since I was gathering it from trees scheduled to be removed for construction and ground into wood chips, I felt that, through the work I created, I would be giving the bark and the trees a new, additional life." Artist's statement

Luce Center Label

Linda Bills made Hats On with pieces of tulip poplar bark, removed from limbs she gathered and rolled inside-out to dry. She created a chipboard scale model first, then used it as a template to cut the bark pieces into the desired finished shapes. Bills used waxed linen thread, reinforced on the interior with small twigs, to stitch the pieces together. The layering of the bark, particularly on the lid, reflects the artist's experience in traditional basket making. Also, the minimalist joinery paired with the lack of finish on the bark's surface highlights the natural features of the material.


decorative arts

Crafts - Wood

wood - poplar