Past Exhibitions > Woven: The Art of Contemporary Native Basketry

Gail Tremblay
Gail Tremblay

Gail Tremblay
Onondaga and Mi’kmaq
I was born in Buffalo, NY in December 1945, in the middle of a giant snowstorm. I was in a rush to enter this world, and was born forty-five minutes after my mother broke water.
As I grew up, I always wanted to learn how things were made. Perhaps that is what lead me to making art and weaving and working with fibers. And then living in American culture with its images of Indians made me want to re-contextualize the things I saw and comment on what I was seeing, and I started to weave film and turn weaving into a conceptual art.
I use non-traditional materials to explore ways I can weave traditional Onondaga and Micmac basketry forms so that my work will comment on indigenous life in the 21st Century. I began making film baskets when I taught with Marge Brown, a filmmaker at The Evergreen State College. I found film was an interesting material to weave, and I enjoyed the notion of recycling film and gaining control over a medium that had historically been used by both Hollywood and documentary filmmakers to stereotype American Indians. I relished the irony of making film take on the traditional fancy stitch patterns of our ash splint and sweet grass baskets. I enjoy creating titles to contextualize these baskets and often choose materials to ironic purpose. The choice of weaving stitches, many of which have names, is deliberate.
I make baskets with both 35 and 16mm film.

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