By: Christopher Miller
How does a young mother seeking to decorate her home evolve into an artist? Just ask Dallas-based fiber artist Debbie Snider.
Debbie needed to find some colorful art to decorate a sizeable stairwell in her home. As a mother of two, she wanted to find something safe that, if it fell, it would not break or injure anyone.
Inspired by a coiling project her daughter brought home from elementary school, Debbie decided to try her hand at a process known as coil basketry. The distinctive aspect of this process is its foundation, which is made up of a single element, or standard, that is wound in a continuous spiral about itself.
“I loved the rudimentary look of these coil baskets,” Debbie said. “My daughter learned how to make them in class and quickly taught me how to do it.”
The technique is derived from an ancient basketry technique used by Native Americans across North America. But rather than using natural reeds, Debbie starts with a “thick cord and wraps it with colorful yarn or fabric to create the structure in her baskets.
Each basket tells a story through color and shape; some display straight sides, while others have sides that curve in or out. Still others include whimsical loops and strands that resemble hair.
Her first attempt at basketry yielded three different vase-like baskets of varying heights to adorn that stairwell. Now, many years later, Debbie has made hundreds of baskets since then and even expanded her skills into a three-dimensional wall sculpture.
While the process is simple, it does require focus and strong hands to create the shape. Debbie enjoys the repetitive, meditative process of shaping along with the many possibilities of color scope for each piece.
Frequently, or strangely enough the piece often determines its own size and shape.
“I love the finished product and I don’t know how to explain it more than that,” Debbie said. “I hope every artist feels that way about their work.”
“I’m not sure everyone must have an artistic outlet,” Debbie said. “But it’s essential for me.”
Debbie is currently a Dallas Area Fiber Artists member and meets with other fiber artists to share ideas and stories. Fiber art includes quilting, basketry, and clothing design.
To purchase Debbie’s baskets, visit her store, WildWorks, at https://urbanartistmarket.com/store/fiberartbasketry/. To learn more about the Dallas Area Fiber Artists program, visit www.dallasfiberartists.org.