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Barbara Dusty Gustafson- Artist Statement
As a science enrichment teacher and a basket weaver, I have taught both the children and adults of Vashon Island about the wonders of the natural world and the joy of creating a woven vessel. I love weaving not just reed and fibers, but human history, botanical terms, mathematical skills, and an appreciation for the natural world into each basket weaving lesson. I love watching people become empowered by the rhythm of weaving. That rhythm can move an individual inwards and meditative or outwards and refocused on social interaction. That rhythm turns doubters into believers and the fearful brave. That rhythm crosses language, culture, age, and ability barriers.
In addition to weaving, I love photography, which allows me to slow down and examine the details of life. I have published four books featuring local photographs- “Vashon ABCs- An Exploration of Shore Life”, “Treasures of Vashon-Maury Island – A Photographic Scavenger Hunt for All Ages”, “ A Vashon Adventure through the Alphabet”, and “The Heart of Vashon – Sharing Our Stories in Pictures and Worlds”.
Most recently, I have combined my love of nature, photography, and weaving by delving into the art of tapestry making. Using various cameras and my cellphone, I snap photos from my porch on Burton Hill, hiking around the Island, or on my travels off-island. Inspired by these captured images, grand and minute, I create impressionistic tapestries using yarns, wool roving, fabric, and more.