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East Anglian Basketry exhibition opens in The Gallery at NUA

A showcase of an industry with strong links in the region is set to open in Norwich this Saturday (8th January 2011). The East Anglian Basketry exhibition at The Gallery at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) will reflect on the scale and diversity of basketmaking, presenting 40 examples of basketry that has been made in the region and showing extracts of films dating back to the 1930s.

Frame basket

East Anglian Basketry exhibition opens in The Gallery at NUA

The exhibition, which is open to the public and free to view, illustrates the history of the craft, reflecting the strong tradition of basketmaking in East Anglia where it is still active in supplying local and wider demand. The commonest form of packaging and carrying for millennia, basketry has been applied to new contexts and adopted new practices incorporating ingenious changes in style and function.

East Anglian Basketry is the brainchild of distinguished basketmaker Mary Butcher and Senior Lecturer at NUA Victoria Mitchell. Victoria will be giving an associated open lecture entitled Basketry: Transforming the Traditional in Contemporary Art and Design at NUA’s Duke Street Lecture Theatre at 5pm on Thursday 3rd February. The exhibition is shown in conjunction with Basketry: Making Human Nature opening at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts on 8th February. Both exhibitions are the result of a major Arts & Humanities Research Council award.

Man on a boat filled with eel baskets

Man on a boat filled with eel baskets

Mary says: “The East Anglian basket is relevant to the challenges faced by modern society. It is a sustainable product that will give many years of good service, mellow gracefully, be much admired and give pleasure to the senses. Buying and using a basket regularly impacts favourably on our carbon footprints, replacing plastic bags and the cloth ones so often imported from non-sustainable materials.

Victoria adds: “Baskets have been produced in enormous numbers all over the region, in individual workshops and larger units employing many basketmakers. East Anglian Basketry will show traditional designs alongside those where artists and designers have challenged traditional approaches and outcomes in surprising ways.”

East Anglian Basketry will be on show from Saturday 8th January until Saturday 12th February in The Gallery at NUA on St Georges Street, between the hours of 10am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday. A catalogue will be on sale.

A lead cast of a basket

A lead cast of a basket

A basket made for catching bees

Bee Skep

A one handled basket for holding gatherings

Swill basket

A mat made from basket weave

Deck mat

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