‘Tribute Baskets’ to be dedicated at Waypoint on Monday

Arts &Humanities Bainbridge and the city of Bainbridge Island will celebrate a new addition to the community’s public art portfolio, “Tribute Baskets” by Christine Clark.

The large, nested metal baskets, interwoven with patterns drawn from local cultures, will be dedicated at a public ceremony at the Waypoint at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19. A reception and lecture by the artist will follow at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Clark, a professor at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, was inspired by a visit to the Suquamish Museum and the basketry of the region’s indigenous dwellers.

“The baskets were beautiful — tight, perfectly crafted, used for a large variety of gathering activities and exhibited a diversity of interesting patterns,” she said. “These baskets were my initial inspiration for the design for this project. Considering the further history of the island, the Scandinavians, Japanese and the Filipino people stood out to me as well. Since I was making four sculptures, I chose those four cultures to honor.”

Patterns included in the four works, which stand between 6 and 9 feet tall, include:

Suquamish Native People: A traditional Suquamish common basket pattern. The Lushshootseed were master basket makers, created watertight-coiled cedar roots basketry used for harvesting fish and other foods.

Scandinavian: A Norse rune pattern, Web of Wyrd is the matrix of fate and contains all of the shapes of the runes and therefore all of the past, present, and future possibilities they represent.

Japanese: A symbolic motif for measure, this became a popular shop sign among merchants for its appropriateness to their trade and its meaning to increase or prosper.

Filipino: Ginawang, the hawk, is an omen bird and common Filipino tattoo pattern. He delivers a message of good fortune or blessings of the ancestors for a particular task.

Clark’s work was commissioned by the Bainbridge Public Art Committee through a juried process. The installation was funded by the city’s public art program, which is administered by Arts &Humanities Bainbridge.

“These exquisite vessels in Waypoint are welcoming beacons that express our shared values of diversity and inclusivity,” said Sandy Fischer, chair of the Public Art Committee. “This piece adds to the island’s growing collection of public art by regional artists. We look forward to adding new works annually, funded by the 2 percent for arts program that was approved by the city council in 2015.”

Along with teaching traditional metal-smithing and jewelry, Clark focuses on abstract sculpture in steel, wire and mixed materials. Her approach “examines subjects such as human habit and predisposition.”

Clark’s exhibitions include permanent public art at Eastern Oregon University and OCAC, and regular exhibits at Nine Gallery in Portland. Her work is also part of collections at Harborview Medical Center and Portland Community College. She holds an MFA in Metals from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a BFA in Metals/Jewelry from the University of Washington.

Tribute Baskets was installed at the Waypoint in early December with contributions of materials and labor by Jefferson Fine Home Builders and David Kotz Woodworks, both of Bainbridge Island, and Kingbridge Construction of Kingston.

Puget Sound Energy has provided a $2,500 grant for future lighting of the works, with additional funding provided by an anonymous island donor.

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