I aspire to create simple, elegant woven vessels that possess a richness of spirit and a presence embodying the soul of the tree from which they came. My basketry is rooted in a resolve to keep life simple, joyful and directly connected to the earth. As my work evolves, I am compelled to create more refined, intuitive and intricate pieces, finding great satisfaction in emulating the art and integrity of fine basketry.
The emphasis of my most recent work is on expressive form and technique rather than function, my baskets possessing more of a vessel presence. My creative energy flows from a fascination with old tribal textiles, finely woven functional containers and ancient processes. As I experiment with various twining techniques to inject pattern and rhythmic design elements, the inspirational influence of early Native American basketry is reflected. Working exclusively with natural fibers collected from my environment imbues my work with an organic soulfulness that might otherwise be absent.
Jennifer Heller Zurick is a self-taught artist that has been professionally engaged with her basketry since 1980. She gathers and processes black willow bark from trees growing along the banks of the Kentucky River. Her work has been featured in many regional and national exhibitions and in several craft related publications. Jennifer has been awarded two Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Artist Fellowships, one in 1998 and again in 2009. She has taught numerous basketry workshops over the years and was chosen for the 1999 Kentucky Arts Council Cultural Exchange Residency in Ecuador. Her work has been regionally recognized for years and is currently winning prizes and awards at national exhibitions and shows.