28 Aug This artist is no basket case!
Sometimes it takes just one inspiring influence in a child’s life to set her on the path to artistry. In the case of graphic artist/web designer Kim Hadley, it was a super creative aunt who encouraged her to try her hand at stained glasswork, encaustic painting, mixed media painting, clay slabwork, and beaded jewelry. Today, Hadley’s original pine-needle baskets, woven cachepots, and decorative birdhouses intrigue and delight her collectors.
Hadley took up jewelry making after beginning her “small house” life in an Airstream trailer but found it didn’t creatively move her. She was looking for something else to do that didn’t require much space or inventory. Eventually, she moved to the Coast and settled into living on a boat in Gibsons Harbour. Then a friend gave her a little sedge grass basket she had made as a gift; next, a neighbour showed her a little pine needle basket … and a creative lightbulb went off. But how to learn how to weave baskets? This digital master knew exactly where to go: “I went on YouTube and found a video by a Mennonite woman.” Soon she had mastered the basics and was ready to put her own individual spin on the works. “I’ve developed the process over the years by adding in a variety of other plant/animal/organic and inorganic materials. What I love about making the baskets is that flow, of finding something interesting on the beach or in the forest and creating a basket that includes it. I love working with organic materials that would otherwise just rot down into the earth.”
This gentle artist also finds a spiritual satisfaction from her acts of creation: “One of the things that I like to think about as I make these baskets, is how all of the elements have spiritual meaning. For instance, the pine tree symbolizes creativity, peace and harmony; arbutus is symbolic of protection and safety. I like to build all these spiritual elements into each piece so that the piece is not only beautiful, but inspires our spiritual selves.” Recently, she’s become interested in working with cedar and dried kelp, elements that will undoubtedly show up in her work soon.
Hadley also finds joy through collaboration with her fellow artists in the Landing Artists group: “Sometimes creating art can be a singular activity. I like connecting with other artists, getting inspired when I see them learn and grow. It’s fun to share with the group, and also I think it makes our shows more interesting if there are other art forms as part of a collective.”
Hadley’s work will be on display at the Landing Artists’ Spring Landing show at the Gibsons Public Market on May 18, 19, and 20. She also teaches basket-making workshops and can be reached at email@example.com, at www.kimizone.com or www.landingartists.com.