Martha Bird, who has studied nursing and holistic health/human development as well as art, will present a free program on basketry as a tool for healing at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Anderson Center.
A Minneapolis resident, Bird is in residence this month at the Anderson Center, working on large-scale sculptural baskets for an upcoming exhibit.
Bird’s presentation, “Reclaiming Basketry: Working Through Stigma to Reach Creative Potential,” relates to the fact that basketry has been used in the medical field to treat trauma for more than 100 years.
Her love of basketry dates to the 1990s. She had been working as a nurse in Massachusetts and injured her back, which meant she no longer could work full time.
“To begin moving off of bed rest,” she wrote in her application to the Anderson Center, “I reconnected with my creative self by taking basketry classes.
“Through this holistic practice of creating, I have been able to return to working part time as a nurse while also establishing myself as a professional artist.” Her experiences included studying with four professional Irish willow basketmakers in Ireland.
As a therapeutic tool, she said, “My basketry weaves together the healing in body, mind and soul to invite wholeness in both the work and in myself.”
During her month in Red Wing, Bird is using sculptural basketry to create individual human body parts. “When viewed together, the work will be a symbol of the human form and experience, particularly expressing the bodily manifestation of trauma.”
She is working with two weaving techniques to create fiber sculptures on a larger scale. The first weave is the Perigord technique, a traditional style from France; and the second is the Hexagonal technique, which she compared to assembling a jigsaw puzzle.
Bird has two exhibitions scheduled this fall in Fergus Falls, Minn. The first will feature traditional basketry, and the second will focus on her “body series.” The Minnesota State Arts Board awarded her a grant to work on the sculptural pieces.