Pat Bennett, Sculptural Basket Weaver

Photo: Boulevard Magazine


I graduated from Ryerson University in 1976 with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Design. For more than twenty years, my late husband and I pursued careers as wood sculptors. We exhibited our work internationally, and were the recipients of numerous awards and corporate commisions.

After moving to Salt Spring Island in 1993 I became interested in the world's oldest craft of basketry. Since then, I have focused my creative fervor on weaving sculptural vessels. After the technical skills had been masters, I had a desire to challenge the tradional concept of a basket's purpose: to gather, hold, or carry possessions. The design process evolved into one that supported creative expression rather than traditional function. The combining of my extensive experience in wood sculture with traditional weaving techniques sparked an exploration into a new realm of design possibilies.

Each piece begins by creating a hand sculpted wood form that suggests the shape for the vessel. This unique form allows me to create a sense of movement within each individual vessel. It is a blending of architecture, imagination, control, and freedom. Exotic and domestic hardwood, each with their own natural richness of colour and striking grain characteristics, provide the colour pallet for each form. I create the range of colour in the reed through a hand dying process.

Weaving to music allows me to indulge two of my passions in life, sculpture and music simultaneously. In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independant in contour and rhythm, and interdepent in harmony. One voice will lead and the other will follow. In the beginning I act as the lead voice, choosing colour and pattern for the vessel. At a magical point in the weaving process, the form begins to appear and the vessel becomes the lead voice and I the follower.