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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Craft: Fiber: Birch Bark Basket #2001-2
Birch Bark Basket #2001-2


Birch Bark Basket #2001-2
2001
Dona Look
sewn and wrapped white birch bark and waxed silk thread
11 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 13 1/2 in. (29.2 x 34.3 x 34.3 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Renwick Acquisitions Fund
2002.67
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". . . my ideas are influenced by environment and come from memory and imagination . . . An idea may begin on the beach or in my garden, seeing the profile and volume of a pod or pumpkin. Using bark from the forest as fabric, the image is then altered to suit the materials." The artist, quoted in Du Bois, Baskets Now: USA, 2002

Dona Look travels throughout the northern woodlands of Wisconsin to collect bark from white birch trees that are slated to be harvested. She then sews the pieces of bark together with silk thread, creating a contrast between the methodical silk stitches and the natural grain of the white birch. Look used two different layers of bark in Birch Bark Basket #2001-2: the light part at the top was harvested from the exterior of a tree, and the darker bark of the body came from an interior layer of bark. The entire piece resembles a form that one could find in nature, like a pumpkin or gourd.


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