Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America.


The “New Basketry” movement of the late 1960s and the early 1970s was essentially spearheaded by Ed Rossbach. Many leading fiber artists and educators have been touched by this lasting legacy in some manner, whether from their own experiences as students of Rossbach’s, or merely from studying the fine technical and innovative basketry works that emerged during this period. Personal interviews with three dynamic women, who were active early on in this movement—Dorothy Gill Barnes, Patricia Hickman, and Kay Sekimachi—have revealed that an enduring engagement with materials remains central to their ongoing artistic practices. This has resulted in their exploration of new media, which are then combined with the materials they mastered so early on in their artistic careers. Gill Barnes has begun to explore the interplay that occurs when glass meets tree bark to create work that melds these two seemingly disparate materials. Hickman has expanded her artistic vision to investigate the way hog gut interfaces with metal, engaging with rust patterns, as well as various sculptural metal casting techniques. Sekimachi is creating jewelry, by combining natural materials that she finds while beachcombing with weaving and interlacing techniques she has perfected, resulting in compelling one-of-a-kind works of art. This paper delves into the ongoing commitment these three women have had with their specific mediums and technical processes over time. The role that their own personal and artistic space has played throughout the five decades of their engagement with the fiber art world will also be examined.