Woven Design by Vivian Keenan

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Artist statement

Initially I produced utilitarian baskets from palembang cane, I find a lot of satisfaction in producing items that are used by people on a daily basis. My interest in sculpture comes from that background - it's a natural extension of form and technique. I enjoy the process of construction, producing elegant sculptural forms from natural fibres, using willow, rattancore and harvesting materials from my immediate environment such as jasmine, harakeke and supplejack.
Recycled copper - gorgeous colours and the opposing qualities of malleability and strength - has given a new direction and scope for my ideas, allowing for the construction of much larger scale works, indoor and outdoor pieces.
My inspiration comes mainly from forms in the natural environment. I have lived on Great Barrier Island for the last seven years and feel the land and the sea have impacted significantly on my work.
There is inspiration also in the everyday objects that are used by humans, eg hinaki, seed fans, sails, a myriad of things. It is 'form' wherever it is found that motivates me in my work. The texture within a piece and the spaces created in between the weaving are prime factors in each work.


Big Willow Project

In 2006 I was accepted as a participant on the building of a large landscape sculpture designed by American landscape artist Patrick Dougherty . He was commissioned by the Scottish Highland Council to build a piece to commemorate a year long celebration of the arts in the Highlands. This was a joint venture between the Arts Council and the Scottish Basketmakers Circle, who in the main provided the weavers from within their membership group. It was an extremely interesting experience, Patrick had a totally different approach to using willow from that which most of us helping had. The sculpture site was beside a small loch on a private estate close to Inverness, a beautiful landscape with snow on the surrounding hills some mornings. It took a month to finish the work which is a ring of seven stones with a small 'mother' stone in the middle, on average there was a group of 6 working each day.
We celebrated with an opening on a cool sunny day with harpists and a performance by English basketmaker Tim Johnston.

More information about this project is available on my blogsite.weavinglife.blogspot.com



Pushing The Boundaries Exhibition - Scotland

The exhibition commissioned by Highland Council Exhibitions Unit to accompany the Big Willow project is now touring. The artists and makers represented in this stunning exhibition have not only been given free rein to challenge their own creative horizons but, in doing so, are firmly and finally dispelling any notion of basketry as some quaint handicraft.
Pushing the Boundaries stands by its name and demonstrates that this media is capable of inspiring and contributing to the huge creative potential currently burgeoning within Scottish crafts.
Textural, tactile - rooted in naturally grown traditional materials, yet embracing man made fibres and 'found' objects this exhibition presents evocative shapes and imagery, delicate and lyrical forms - structures and ideas which extend perceptions of what constitutes basketmaking today. Thus, there are no boundaries other than what the maker finds physically possible.
The Pushing the Boundaries exhibition includes new work by makers: Juliet Arnott, Lise Bech, Mary Butcher, Caroline Dear, Lizzie Farey, Tim Johnson, Vivian Keenan, Anna King, Trevor Leat, Jaimie MacDonald, Valerie Pragnell, Eva Seidenfaden, Caroline Sharp, Maggie Smith, Linda Soos, Julie Starks, Pip Weaser, Jane Wilkinson and Lucy Woodley.
If you have any questions please contact Astrid or Lucy on 01463 710978 or exhibitions@highland.gov.uk. Catalogues are available to download from the website (see below) or to order from the Highland Council Exhibitions Unit @£2, including p&p.


The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

In 2003 I was commissioned by the LampPost Productions to produce a number of backpacks and baskets for the set.


There is more information and pictures about Vivian on her blog space - weavinglife.blogspot.com







İVivian Keenan 2007