Pamela Zimmerman

I use mostly basket making techniques, not necessarily in a traditional manner. Weaving is an escape and exploration. There are very few boundaries as to what I consider “appropriate” weaving material, or “acceptable” form. These pieces are from my “Hardbody” series, that is, they begin with gourds.

Gourds seem very fanciful to me. They come in many shapes, and I tend to like the ones that are not “perfect,” the ones with bumps and contortions. When I start to add bright colors in the form of dyes and paints, and then textures of fibers, a very playful landscape emerges. I like to weave in directions that are unexpected. I collect all sorts of little bits of fiber, everything from discarded fabric to twine. Lately, I have been adding “thrums” to my mixed fiber weavings – these are threads left over from warping a loom, which would normally just be thrown away.

I like the way the gourd's surface is hard and shiny, relative to the softness of the weaving. I particularly love little floating unraveled fibers, straining to reach out or break free! Sometimes beads try to contain them, but all that can ever really be achieved is a sort of balance between being connected and reaching out. They confer a sort of “living-ness” to my Hardbody sculptures that I really savor.

© Pamela Zimmerman