The Workshop -
Basart's studio is both her work and thinking space. The area has three sewing machines and a large cutting table. It also houses her collection of fabrics. In spite of the sewing machines, all of Basart's works are slowly and carefully hand-stitched. She collects old embroidered cloths, men's ties and suits, women's suits and skirts. They are all cut apart inspected, cleaned then filed away to be used in later projects. The work process is slow. "It's never about speed" Basart commented. She thinks, develops an idea -- works it out in her mind -- then, without photographs, sketches or patterns, she stitches directly onto the project. She goes where the needle takes her. Textile artist Basart, embroiders and re-embroiders her cloth collection. Because embroidery was once an everyday expression of women many years, Basart works on salvaged items that are no longer wanted, she makes them alive again. She does not want the original embroiders and machinists to be forgotten. She holds them in high esteem!
Both the Slow Movement and the Outsider Art Movement play significantly as part of her life philosophy.
"Bogolanfini" is cloth from Mali that has been dyed with fermented mud. Also know as "earth cloth", this fabric usually made into clothing. Here the artist celebrates the dyeing process of reproducing Bogolanfini patterns in the earth colors, black and white. She has crafted a lively sense of depth by piecing both background and foreground with the latter in enlarged scale so that the white motifs really "pop" on the surface. The lighter tone of the strip to the left and its stitched patterns help to anchor the quilt like a flagpole, emphasizing its tactile aspects in an almost ceremonial manner.
People who have seen Basart's work often commission her to assemble special pieces of stitched art to fit their walls, as in the case of a young couple in Australia. She assembled and stitched nine 12X12 inch squares to hang on a formerly blank wall. The completed piece hangs away from the wall, during the evening light it casts a further nine interesting shadows. Another buyer had a wonderful collection of textile weavings he had collected while in the Peace Corps in Africa. When she was approached about making a wall hanging, Basart suggested using his collection of weavings that were sitting in the drawer.
A Painted Canvas “Flotsom and Jetsom” is made from painted canvas created by Basart. Not seeing the painted canvases as being complete, she cut and ripped them apart, reassembled them with hand stitches. Delighted with the outcome she had it framed and entered into competition.
While in South Africa in 2006, Basart was introduced to Yvonne Ward Smith, who uses mud cloth from Mali to upholster chairs, loveseats and footstools. When Basart asked about leftover scraps, it started her onto a path of a new series using mud cloth pieces that would have been thrown away. This long vertical piece epitimises the experience.
Eye of the Storm. Technique: Men's ties machine pieced, hand stitched. A swirling mass of colour
Wrapped Buildings. Technique: Old clothes cut apart, hand appliqued, hand stitched 35W x 20L
Subdivision one of Miriam Basarts latest works - Under layer dyed, sheer top layer silk screened, hand stitched 26in wide x 21in high