Kaye Bonnar is a Scottish textile maker and artist. Her work is led by the desire to highlight the importance of craft and making by hand as a notable art form. Often referencing her heritage and traditional self taught crafts, Kaye draws her inspiration from the elements of weave and basketry to inform her textile practice. Colour and material selection forms a big part of her creative identity, using found and gathered materials. Kaye graduated with a BA in Fashion. Her work experience moved from fashion to set design which then formed an interest in creating interior objects for space. This has now led to experimental pieces where artistic expression takes prominence over function as she moves between both craft and gallery.
In my work I use the craft of basketry as a vessel for artistic expression through intuitive making, material and colour choices. My intuitive and ritualistic process of gathering materials and making stemmed from both my interest in witchcraft and a found photograph of my nana weaving a basket, discovering my ancestry in self taught craft making. Using found materials which were collected along the coast of Fife in Scotland, alongside everyday discarded items, I felt I was honouring the land that I come from and honouring my ancestors through connecting to my nana and carrying on the craft of basketry.
Walking along the beach when the tide is out, I began collecting rope of all different sizes, colours and conditions. I was attracted to the worn and weathered state featuring frayed edges, rips and dye from rust. There was a meditative process in gathering the rope, untying and unravelling it. Once unravelled, I used the weathered rope alongside other discarded materials and marram grass from the same beach to form basketry structures with the coiling technique.
I find basketry is a very intuitive practice in itself with no weave plan or true idea of how the basket will look until done, especially as I did not want to alter or manipulate the materials as I worked with them. I kept a familiar shape of a basket or vessel as I wanted to still represent the craft of basket making in the gallery context while also straying from the principles of traditional basketry within my artistic process.
Self expression and playfulness through my material and colour choices is a core element to my work. Colour is really important to myself and my creative identity as I am fascinated by the alchemy of putting colours together, while I also want to draw attention to the beauty in the mundane and everyday materials in order to give them meaning through another purpose. Challenging the hierarchy of materials and elitism of the art world, I also want to highlight the importance of the self taught craft and undervalued materials.
I am also interested in craft and the role it could play in the gallery as well as its often negative connotations allowing for it to often not be held in a higher regard. There seems to be such a connection with craft and womanhood as they are stereotypically connected to this idea of domesticity and it seems then somehow if a woman is making basketry it is expected. I want to challenge these gendered and outdated stereotypes by placing my work in the gallery context where it can be appreciated as art.