Six By Four IIby Selvedge Collaborator
This month is New York Textile Month: a month-long, citywide festival designed to celebrate textile creativity and promote textile awareness. In celebration, the Textile Society of America has taken over Cooper Hewitt's Object of the Day blog, posting about fascinating textile pieces that form part of America's cultural heritage.
One of the Objects of the Day was James Bassler's Weaving Six by Four II:
"Paired sets of stepped blocks in harmony and balance echo an ancient process. James Bassler (American, b. 1933), in his work Six by Four II, incorporates an aesthetic of pure color through the interlacing of warps and wefts in a special way. By changing the colors of each block, linked one to the other, thread by thread, Bassler follows the concept if not the technique, of the pre-Columbian weavers of Peru, who managed to achieve extraordinary heights of artistic prowess as early as the 3rd century B.C. Respecting the knowledge and skills of these weavers, Bassler engages in his own methodology, for his own time and in his own place. The geometric dualities evoke a minimalism sensitive to the modern world: but in a world where process and integrity of making, compounds the weight and meaning of the statement.
Image: Craft in America
"Bassler is a California-based artist who has built his career around the art and craft of weaving: he is well known and beloved in circles of the art-world that embrace this interface. Bassler graduated from UCLA with an MA in Art in 1968, and returned to teach in the Art Department, eventually as Chair, for twenty-five years, from 1975-2000. Early in his development, during the 1950s, inspired in part by Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, Jim traveled by freighter from London to India and from there to Indonesia and Japan, where he was greatly taken by the enveloping world of textiles that permeated these cultures.
Image: Craft in America
"Immersed and enriched by the broad array of fibers, textures and colors, he became acutely aware of the nuanced variety of materials and specialized dyeing techniques that would become a critical part of his art and process. His subsequent study of the textile traditions of Latin America also became particularly important, and from the 1960s through the 1990s, he and his wife, a ceramist, lived part of each year in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he drew from experience of the rich traditions of the region."
Extract from cooperhewitt.org. Words by Elena Phipps.