By Gussie Fauntleroy
(SOUTHWEST ART, December, 2006, 90 & 105)

Joan Brink weaves the world into her baskets. There’s the natural world, in bird imagery and botanical motifs, inspired by the artist’s passion for gardening. And there’s the larger world of cultures around the globe and throughout time.

Born in New Orleans, 61-year-old Brink has lived up and down the East Coast, in Paris, Italy, and Vancouver, British Columbia. She and her husband Joel, a retired art historian, settled in Santa Fe in 1993. Fittingly, her work incorporates ideas and imagery from sources as diverse as the ancient Maya, sacred geometry of the Italian Renaissance, and 19th century Nantucket Island basketry, which was among the first types she learned to create.

Brink’s cylindrical and gracefully rounded vessels are woven from hand-shaped reed staves and hand-dyed (and undyed) strips of cane. Like the early Nantucket craftsmen, she weaves around a form — in this case Styrofoam carved to her design by Joel, who also creates hardwood elements for the base and top.

Among her recent pieces is BREAKING THROUGH, whose striking, esoteric design symbolizes our longing for transformation. Black-outlined red diamonds at the base represent fear and passion in the human psyche. A central white band and stylized Tibetan knot is the realm of the sacred. And emerging upwards is human consciousness, still in the world, yet changed. “Those are the kinds of stories I love to weave,” Brink says. She is represented by Jane Sauer Thirteen Moons Gallery, Santa Fe; Dane Gallery, Nantucket, MA; and Twin Rocks Trading Post, Bluff, UT.