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Mrs. Forty Baskets

January 18, 2018 1 Comment

Mrs. Forty Baskets

“…because whenever I went to visit my aunt, even as a young child, I had a basket for this, a bag for that....”

We are very excited to introduce Jane Whitten at Whisper Wind Gallery.  She joined us just before Christmas but I held off formally introducing her until after the rush so we could give her a proper introduction. 

Jane is an amazing weaver and knitter.  I was always impressed with my grandmother’s knitting skills (I still have socks she made me and a sweater straight out of the 80’s) but Grammy’s got nothing on Jane!

Jane Whitten's Sand Pods Sand Pods.  Jane first knits the pods and then encrusts them with sand. 

I have seen Jane out at a few different events since I first met her and she is never without knitting needles in her hands.  Jane picked up knitting at the age of five and hasn’t put the needles down yet; she said as a child she would much prefer making stuff than reading or homework.

As for her weaving, her baskets are made completely of materials that were destined for landfill.  She upcycles to create colourful baskets that are beautiful AND completely functional, but it is all about her motivation in doing more to save the environment that drives her creative resourcefulness.  She is a self-taught basketmaker along with taking workshops from internationally recognized basketmakers: John Garrett, Lisa Hunter, and Jackie Abrams

Jane has spent her time between the east coast of Canada and Australia, but through all of her travels she knows that she must always settle near the ocean no matter what.  This love for the ocean, along with her concern for the environment, drives her underlying experimentation with materials, techniques and structures.

 Green Basket by Jane Whitten  Yellow Basket by Jane Whitten  White Basket by Jane Whitten

“We are surrounded by so many materials that cry out to be played with – telephone wire, plastic and metal strapping, yogurt tub tops, rope, computer cable, plastic spoons, seaweed, yarn, plastic bags... I work on the premise that if you have enough of something you can make a basket it out of it – you just have to figure out what the material brings to the table and what you need to add to create the desired form.” Jane Whitten 

Jane has a solo show coming up, Wreaking Havoc, from March 22 to May 13 at Mary Black Gallery, Centre for Craft Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS, Canada.  Jane says her challenge has been to recreate the essence of marine elements by experimenting with techniques and structures using industrially made materials (preferably discarded). The works acknowledge and emphasize that although aesthetically pleasing objects can be created out of debris, they can never replace the original natural items, forcing viewers to reflect upon the impact of climate change and the urgency of taking action to slow, if not stop, those changes effected by the havoc we have created.

Jane Whitten

Whisper Wind Gallery is excited to share that we will also be hosting a solo show for Jane Whitten this spring to complement her Wreaking Havoc show.  We will provide more details as it gets closer, but until then you can find Jane on Instagram as ILoveBaskets (so fitting, right?!).  

1 Response

Christine Knowles
Christine Knowles

June 25, 2018

Great to see your work again, Jane. Remember me from Maribyrnong Centre in Canberra. I am making felt pots and silk and merino dresses and scarves using natural dyes and eco dyeing leaves. Went to Nova Scotia in2017 and stayed at Lunenberg. Thought you were in Newfoundland? Hard to keep an artist down. As I am a member of Wydeham basket weavers and Candelo felt makers I got a news report including your lovely work and recognised the sand encrusted pots and crocheted ear rings. Go for it Jane.

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