Art From the Forest: The Art of Michael and Joann Brown
An appreciation for nature and tradition and a healthy sense of creative playfulness are woven into each of Michael and Joann Brown’s unique creations.
We all begin as an empty vessel. What we collect in those vessels defines who we are.
Michael and Joann Brown filled theirs with family (three kids), love, faith, a respect for nature, and satisfying work. That work, woven into this metaphor, is Basketry.
Michael inherited a love for wood. He enjoys constructing local forest-wood planters, helps Joann with basketry, and maintains their Christmas tree farm.
The Browns’ basket designs are sculptural, though not traditional Appalachian. Nor are they Native American. They are free-style, decorative, and functional, each made from what Mother Nature provides. And every basket has a tale to tell: What magic led them to their cache of materials? Did they have to wrestle it into submission (sometimes vines are reluctant to let go)? Was it a new fiber discovery? Did it inspire an inventive technique? Did Smokey Bear witness?
These self-taught basket-makers find trial-and-error their best teacher. They love to experiment with novel bits and twisty climbers they discover in the woods. Environmentally-conscious, they don’t damage root systems. They take only what they need, leaving plenty of new growth.
While Covid slowed down 2020 production and craftshow participation, the Browns intend to be back in high gear doing 2021 shows in Highlands, Hendersonville, at John Campbell Folk School in Brassotwn, and other venues, if/when world health gets back in balance.
In the meantime look forward to the new year. Perhaps you’ll collect a Brown Family Smokevine basket, a vessel ready to fill with all the things you treasure and hope for in life.