Visiting Artist from France Offers Talk & Basket Making Workshops at JAC

Visiting artist and archeologist Isabel McGarva offers a glimpse into her life as a contemporary basketmaker in Burgundy, France, through a free artist talk at the Jamestown Arts Center (JAC) on June 6 at 6 pm entitled “From Archaeology to Contemporary Craft”.  Isabel will also offer basket-making workshops on June 3+4 and 10+11. 

On June 6, during her artist talk, Isabel will share how her experience as an archaeologist, a third-generation craftswoman, environmental concerns, and her belief in the need for beauty and belonging has informed her understanding of basketry. Isabel shares, “I found there are missing pieces in how we envision our past that hold answers to contemporary concerns.”

Isabel will discuss her practice of re-creating past objects for contemporary use and her creation of imagined pieces to fill in the gaps of our histories. She will share her experience of returning to the land by growing her own willow and working with other organic independent growers. Through setting up her workshop in an ancient building in the French countryside, sharing her gained knowledge with others, and finding belonging in the agricultural and artisan networks both locally, and across continents, she has discovered that basket making is much more than a craft. 

Isabel will also teach two 2-day workshops on stake and strand basketry with a contemporary twist. During each of these intensive workshops students will explore traditional willow basketry techniques to make contemporary sculptural works. Rounded shapes will be built around a traditional base, as form and texture are explored through waling methods, including the rope wale. The finest willow will be used to give the pieces weight, movement, and texture. Students will leave with their own large scale sculptural basket either completed, or well underway. All materials and tools are provided and included in the price of the workshop. The workshops are limited to six students per weekend, Saturdays and Sundays, June 3-4 and June 10-11, 10 am – 6 pm. For information on Isabel McGarva’s hands-on workshops, visit

About the Jamestown Arts Center: 

The Jamestown Arts Center is a multidisciplinary visual and performing arts space that hosts art exhibits, theater, dance and musical performances, film screenings, and educational programming, including artist talks and hands-on art classes for all ages. The JAC opened in 2010 in a former boat repair shop redesigned by award-winning architects Estes/Twombly. The JAC has won five of Rhode Island Monthly’s “Best of Rhode Island” awards, including the Editor’s Pick for Outdoor Art in 2021.

The Jamestown Arts Center is a leading arts and cultural hub for Rhode Island and beyond, where creativity, ideas, and innovation flourish. For more information visit:

More From What'sUpNewp


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.