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“Throwaway Society”: Culture and Consumerism in Ed Rossbach’s Basketry

August 22 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Indigenous basketry has long fascinated artists of all backgrounds. But how, if at all, can non-indigenous basketmakers engage these traditions ethically and respectfully? Researcher and fiber artist Ed Rossbach poses these questions in his written and creative works of the 1960s and ’70s. In his art, Rossbach draws on his extensive research into fiber art techniques from throughout history and around the globe. However, he surprisingly combines these methods with contemporary consumer materials ranging from plastic shopping bags to brightly-colored food wrappers and cardboard boxes. This talk will explore the contradictions behind these unusual baskets. While Rossbach unfortunately reinforces stereotypes of indigenous basketry as preindustrial and in need of rediscovery, he is also an early advocate for appreciating indigenous baskets on their own terms through deep, accurate, and hands-on study. Investigating the tensions of Rossbach’s practice may help visitors to Of Baskets and Borers contemplate how we might approach the exhibition from our own diverse, complicated subject positions.

Sarah Parrish, PhD, is Associate Professor of Art and Design at Plymouth State University. Her talk at the Museum of the White Mountains originates from her dissertation research on cultural appropriation in the American fiber art movement of the 1960s and 70s. She has contributed extensively to the field of craft studies through presentations, articles, catalogue entries, and exhibitions. In 2017 she was named the American Craft Council’s Emerging Voices Scholar for this body of work. A passionate educator, she earned Plymouth State’s Transformative Teaching Award and has secured major grants to continue improving her teaching. Her current research involves organizing an exhibition tentatively titled Get Physical: Sport in Contemporary Craft.

This event is hybrid. To receive a Zoom link, please register HERE.


August 22
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Museum of the White Mountains


Museum of the White Mountains
34 Highland Street
Plymouth, NH 03264 United States
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