GRAM unveils a new slice of basket
The new Michigan Artist Series opus at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, An Interwoven Legacy: The Black Ash Basketry of Kelly Church and Cherish Parrish, is on display until February 26.
The episode features over 20 new works in An Interwoven Legacy that focus on the centuries-old tradition of black ash basketry. Some are traditional baskets and others evoke Indigenous history and storytelling that draw parallels with current events.
“The Grand Rapids Art Museum exhibit features the work of two Michigan basket makers who are nationally recognized for their remarkable level of skill and craftsmanship,” said Ron Platt, chief curator of GRAM. “In the Kelly Church and Cherish Parrish family, basket weaving has been passed down from generation to generation, stretching back centuries. Their work is especially powerful for the way it balances tradition with their concerns about the environment, both here in West Michigan and nationally. “
Originally, the Anishinaabe wove and used black ash baskets for transporting, collecting, and storing. Later, their ancestors began to create decorative baskets to sell and strengthen the tribal economy.
“Black ash is an integral part of who we are, from creation stories to blood memories, to the baskets we make today,” Church said. “We start with the black ash and we do all the processing – we harvest it, we process it, we cut it, and then we make a basket that tells a story of our life today. We combine traditions from our past that have been carried on for thousands of years.
“Cherish and I take our old traditional teachings and combine them with contemporary stories of who we are as native people in 2021. We are Michigan’s largest basketry family, and the fact that we can wear it for so long. , for me shows the strength and resilience of who we are.
In addition to the exhibit, there will be a documentary that highlights the process of harvesting black ash trees and preparing splints for basketry, as well as stories and background information from Church and Parrish about the works on display.
The museum will also host the virtual workshop with Kelly Church: Making Black Ash Baskets on October 19 between 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Participants will learn how to build a traditional black ash basket with a round bottom with a woven accumulation and ornaments. woven. The black ash splints will be provided after being collected by Church and her family. All materials and tools will be provided in advance. Tickets cost $ 65.