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Artist’s Talk: Isabel McGarva From Archaeology to Contemporary Craft

June 6 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Visiting artist and archeologist Isabel McGarva offers a glimpse into her life as a contemporary basketmaker in Burgundy, France. She started her professional life researching evidence of disappeared material in archaeological contexts and found there are missing pieces in how we envision our past that hold answers to contemporary concerns. Isabel will share how her experience as an archaeologist, family heritage as a 3rd generation craftswoman, concerns for the environment, and firm belief in the human need for beauty and belonging has informed her understanding of basketry. The art form encompasses her values and hopes for the future while offering a dialogue between history and what is to come, nature, plants and the very makings of humanity.

Isabel will discuss her practice of re-creating objects of the past 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.

The talk will be followed by an informal question and answer period.


Jamestown Arts Center
18 Valley Street
Jamestown, RI 02835 United States
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