‘Basketry in America’ Opens Sept. 21 at Florida Tech’s Funk Center

Exhibition Chronicles Basketry’s International History

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Tech’s Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts will present the national traveling exhibition “Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America” from Sept. 21 through Dec. 4.

Through 92 objects, the exhibition chronicles the history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, European, and African traditions to its contemporary presence in the fine art and craft worlds.

Divided into sections – “Cultural Origins,” “Living Traditions,” “Basket as Vessel” and “Beyond the Basket” – the show has two primary goals: to model how to look at, talk about and analyze baskets aesthetically, critically and historically; and to contextualize American basketry within art and craft history specifically and American culture generally.

Historical baskets were rooted in local landscapes and shaped by cultural traditions. With the rise of mass production brought about by the Industrial Revolution, basket makers began to create works for new markets and audiences, including tourists and collectors. Today, some contemporary artists seek to maintain and even revive centuries-old basketry traditions. Others combine historic techniques with nontraditional materials to generate cultural commentary. Still others challenge viewers’ expectations by experimenting with form, materials, scale and installation.

The baskets in “Rooted, Revived, Reinvented” convey meaning and interpret American life through the artists’ choices of materials; the techniques and forms they select; and the colors, designs, patterns and textures they employ.

As part of the exhibition’s programming, and in conjunction with national Spinning and Weaving Week, the Ruth Funk Center will host local basket weavers daily from Oct. 8-12 during regular business hours. They will demonstrate a variety of weaving techniques.

Additionally, the Friends of Textiles Lecture Series will host exhibition co-curator Josephine “Jo” Stealey, who will lead a gallery tour of “Rooted, Revived, Reinvented” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8. The event will be preceded by a reception a 5:15 p.m. The lecture and reception are $10 for the general public and free for Florida Tech faculty, staff and students. For more information, or to register for the gallery tour, visit  https://textiles.fit.edu/events/.

“Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America” is a collaborative endeavor between the National Basketry Organization and the University of Missouri, curated by Stealey and Kristin Schwain, and generously sponsored by the National Basketry Organization, University of Missouri, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, and numerous private donors.

Regular hours for the Ruth Funk Center are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The center is next to Evans Library on the Florida Tech campus, 150 W. University Blvd. in Melbourne. Admission is free. Find more information at http://textiles.fit.edu/.


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