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Annette Mills

Earth materials 2023

Annette Mills works with basketry techniques and natural materials to make vessels which explore transitional spaces. Her practice is concerned with an artist’s creative process. Through the use of the traditional basketry techniques of looping, braiding and twining she analyses her own creative process to explore concepts linked to transitional space, containment and displacement. Annette works with a variety of plants which she can grow, harvest and forage: daffodils, iris, grasses, rush and willow. Her work emphasises the raw materials used and the slowness of the making. Her pieces complete themselves as they gradually relax and settle, finding their own point of balance.  


Whilst in Iceland, Annette experienced The torfbæir, Icelandic turf houses which provided a perfect example of a transitional space. The layered construction using basic materials available from the land, rocks and turf cut from the fields, allowed her to physically experience the transition from the exposed, elemental outdoor environment to the contained, dark-encompassing protection of the interior. The grass and plant material was clearly evident in the finished structures and continued to grow between the turf layers.  Her Eldritch Baskets reflect this layering of materials and techniques to form vessels with the lengths of fibre emerging on the exterior to emphasise the process as new materials are added in. Experimenting with new materials and incorporating non-traditional elements into her work is an important part of her creative practice. 


The series of baskets entitled ‘Beckons to be Known’ refer to Merleau-Ponti’s  concept of ‘chiasm’. The viewer and object are intertwined. The viewer is beckoned to draw closer to discover the space within and the open structure concealed by the layers of bark. The texture of the surface is shared with the surface of the skin as it interacts, reflects and connects with the object viewed and touched.

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