Kathryn Rousso, Winter Blues with a Hint of Hope, 2017
“Winter Blues with a Hint of Hope” is part of a ten basket series that I wove while a “resident” at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. This fiber art documents my husbands successful liver transplant on December 19, 2016 and his lengthy, difficult recovery. When I wove the previous basket, “The Transplant” I anticipated a “typical” three month recovery and return home, but he was hospitalized nearly eight months and we were away from home for almost a year. “Winter Blues” is the third basket in the series. Each waxed linen and beaded twined band takes me about month to weave and includes the Maori casting-on technique of “two paired interlocking weft-twining, two and three strand twining and braiding. I work with the band around my knees, with the warps facing down, which is easy for me because it duplicates Haida-style basketry, Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving, part of my weaving history. The bottom section is simple-looped yellow cedar bark over round reed, which I completed back at home in Ketchikan. I learned looping while researching Guatemalan net bags. This basket style combines my love of twining and looping, and because it can be created anywhere, allowed me to work in the hospital room.
Alaskan medical situations often require extended stay out-of-state, and for me, as I observed my husbands daily progress and setbacks, weaving kept me sane and gave me purpose. Besides weaving, I incorporated daily walks to seek out supplies, and clear my head.
This basket was also selected as part of the Anchorage Museum’s “All Alaska Biennial” (they “loaned” it back to me for this exhibit) and will be reunited for a Juneau opening in November. “The Transplant’ and “Winter Blues with a Hint of Hope” will also be included in the book “Art and Healing”. Also in the works are plans to display the entire collection in conjunction with a hospital to promote conversation and insight into art, medicine and healing.