What does it mean to build a basket, or any craft object, without training or even book instruction? While I worked on this basket, a thought kept recurring to me: the old skills are soon relearned. Clearly spoken in my mind, my internal voice intoned it with sure solemnity. Even then, I didn’t believe a word of it.
I imagined I would continue to make this basket grow until it was large enough to hold a person. Indeed, I'd make a pair of enormous human-container baskets, one tall and thin, the other wide and squat. Even as I dreamed, I knew I would never finish even this lone examplar and cringed at my lack of commitment, thinking especially of the artisans who, out of necessity, cull similar materials from the world’s streets and garbage dumps.
With no defined purpose, a basket is kitsch. Yet, at the highest abstract level, it can be kin to a non-functional functional object, an "urn," say, by Deborah Woodward or a "basket" by Martin Puryear, an object that riffs on purpose and transcends its origins, its referents, and becomes art.
I'm still working.