This large vase is a ceramic and basketry combination. Made by Michigan artist, Stephen Kostyshyn. Stephen is a mixed media artist. Steve completed his BFA at Adrian College in 1976. He then worked as a studio potter for 15 years. Today, he is finally able to create the mixed-media baskets you see here.
Steve was unhampered by the limitations he found with clay-only forms, texture, color, and shape. He created a form that combines many interesting materials to create very unique works of art. To create these form he uses fiber (reed), clay and wood.
The challenge here is to have a clear vision of the completed basket before he starts. Steve uses traditional wheel-throwing and hand building techniques. He finishes the clay parts first. Once he completes that he positions and glues the reed, dowel, or ash spokes in place. This stabilizes the form for weaving.
The final process is the weaving. He selects the natural or smoked reed, weave plaited and twilled patterns. He often chooses palm, vine rattan, or birch bark as accents to add a more natural feel and texture to his baskets.
Stephen was able to break from the clay-only vessel and explore the endless possibilities afforded by basketry as an art form. This has allowed Steve to explore shapes and textures that were unattainable to him in the past.
Above all, his studio is his sanctuary. It is a place where he can go to let all his creative energy flow. It is a place where he is often inspired. Surrounded by clay and reed and all the necessary tools makes it a special place.