In Basketcase, Kristina highlights the spirited life-force and flourishing potential that lies within us all.
As a disabled artist, Kristina is no stranger to weaving around barriers. On leaving university with both a degree and a disability, Kristina was advised to sign on sick. Day-centre activities and basket-weaving were repeatedly offered as compensation for being written-off by an inaccessible system.
23 years later, having weaved through life’s barriers (no basket in sight), Kristina reflects on her own journey, and wonders at the sheer resilience and resourcefulness of the human-spirit. Reclaiming basketmaking, Kristina uses baskets as a visual metaphor for the barriers we weave around, and the new paths we find.
“In compensation for being denied a graduate career due to inaccessible work environments, I have had many people try to push basket weaving on to me as a form of occupational therapy. For 20 years I’ve told them, “weave your own f**king basket”. Now I’m reclaiming it.”
Basketcase in the Forest of Dean
This Unlimited R&D commission, in partnership with the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust, presented Kristina with an invitation to learn about the forest, its people, and the industries that forged the landscape. It represented an opportunity for Kristina to move her practice from the inside to the outside, experimenting with natural materials and traditional crafting, as well as exploring the processes involved in siting sculptural work in the public realm. Using a combination of Forest Bathing and social engagement, Kristina explored the meandering paths woven through the natural world and the communities of the Forest of Dean; uncovering a rich diversity of stories, identities, connections, and passions and illustrating the resilience and solidarity found in both the Forest itself, and the people who live there.
Further funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Esmee Fairbairn Trust allowed Kristina to extend her explorations throughout the lockdown resulting in designs for a sculptural bench to be placed on the Sculpture Trail (currently awaiting planning permission), completion of Vibrancy in the Forest (an audio-visual sculpture and accompanying film), If Only Beds Could Fly (a film exploring the artist’s R&D in a time of isolation), and weaving of prototype baskets woven from materials relating to lockdown dis/connectivity.