DAM Artist-in-Residence Linda Aguilar Knows Basketmaking
Linda Aguilar is not a typical basketmaker. Her horsehair baskets combine traditional Chumash Indian basketry techniques with non-traditional materials. Think bingo chips, beads and sequins, and even bits and pieces of credit cards. Actually, nothing about Linda is typical. Not the way she learned to weave, her teaching style, or her apple pie—all of which are extraordinary.
Trained as painter, Linda learned to sew as a child but was never taught to make baskets. Weaving was something that came to her “in the dream time;” she just knew how to do it. Similarly, her approach to teaching is highly intuitive, so much so that during one of Linda’s pine needle basket workshops at the DAM, she taught a blind woman how to weave by providing tactile examples and then encouraging her enthusiastic student to translate what she felt into her own design.
Because she believes that energy, both good and bad, is woven into the baskets, Linda will stop working if she starts to feel stressed or think negatively. For this reason it was important that we transform the Artist-in-Residence Studio into a place that Linda would feel comfortable creating her pieces. Intent on accurately recreating her studio (which in Linda’s case is her living room) I took a drive to Fort Collins to visit with the artist in her home. She not only welcomed me into her workspace and her most coveted spot in the garden, she baked an apple pie (from scratch!), which we shared at her dining room table surrounded by family photos and collected treasures. With that simple and delicious gesture, Linda turned what should have been a routine business meeting in lovely afternoon among new friends.
Linda’s extraordinary baskets match her personality perfectly—slightly quirky, incredibly generous, and thoroughly delightful.
Linda is our Native Arts Artist-in Residence and set up her studio at the museum November 2013 to January 2014. She will be on-site the last week of January completing her residency project, a horsehair basket that is inspired by her latest fascination of top hats! Visit Linda in the Artist-in-Residence Studio on level three of the North Building. You are sure to be enchanted by the artist and her work!