Basket-weaving class lit artistic spark

  • Wed Jun 18th, 2014 4:06pm
  • Life

By Gale Fiege Herald Writer

A basketry class with the Experimental College at the University of Washington nearly three decades ago was a turning point for Everett artist Dorothy McGuinness.

“Until then, I had no formal art classes,” McGuinness said. “I had done handwork, such as knitting, but basket weaving soon became my passion.”

McGuinness, 53, has three woven sculptural baskets in the Schack Art Center’s 19th juried art show, which opens this week featuring work by 90 established and emerging Northwest artists.

The diverse artwork creates “an eclectic and visually stimulating exhibit,” said Schack spokeswoman Maren Oates.

More than 330 pieces were submitted to the Schack’s panel of jurors, well-known local artists Jan Hopkins, Joan Pinney and Ken Rowe.

“The diversity of mediums and styles represented is exciting,” said gallery director Carie Collver in a statement from the center. “Pieces selected include everything from kiln-cast glass figures by Crista Matteson, to a 7-foot-tall fiber sculpture by Terri Shinn and pastel landscapes by Janet Hamilton. We really never know what to expect.”

The show is on exhibit through Aug. 2 in the center’s main gallery.

“It’s unusual to get all your pieces in a juried show,” McGuinness said. “I’m honored to be part of this. The Schack is an important part of our county’s culture, as a gallery venue and as a place to teach art.”

The basket weaving class that McGuinness took 27 years ago in Seattle led to many more.

“I took every class I could,” she said. “I enjoy the mathematical and geometric aspects of the work. I am continually doing the math to do the work.”

McGuinness studied with American Indian artists, traditional American basket makers and with Japanese bamboo basket maker Jiro Yonezawa.

Watercolor paper became her medium of choice, which she combines with her knowledge of traditional bamboo techniques.

“Starting with the traditional basket starts and weaves, I bring my own innovations to the process, using papers that I hand-paint to create baskets with more flexible properties,” she says in her artist’s statement. “What most attracts me to using paper and paint for weaving is the ability to play with color and pattern. I enjoy exploring the interplay of weaving, color and patterns in new sculptural pieces. I continue to experiment with various weaving methods and techniques to see where they will take me and the woven form.”

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427;

Schack show

Schack Art Center’s biennial juried art show is on display through Aug. 2 in the center’s main gallery, 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett. Admission is free.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. More information is available by calling 425-259-5050 or going to the center’s website,

More information about the work of Dorothy McGuinness is available at or at her show July 3 through Aug. 29 at the Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St., Lynden.