Marcia Morse Mullins – Artist Statement
I am a professional basketmaker working in Lakeland, Florida. The vessels and sculptural forms that I
create grow from a passion for creating quality artwork from natural materials.
My preferred medium is black ash splint, which I prepare by hand according to the teachings of a
Potawatomi elder who passed his tribe’s traditions to me in the late 1980s. His deep reverence for
honoring the ancestors’ knowledge was infectious; to this day, I honor each felled tree and believe the
spirit of the tree remains within the forms woven from its wood.
While studying white oak basketry under Connie and Tom McColley in WV, Tom challenged me to
explore sculptural forms. I committed to a full year of experimenting with form over function and
promised to burn any weaving that Tom deemed to be functional. Nothing but firewood went into the
wood stove and my weaving skills improved exponentially.
I like to think of my work as an extension of my Botany degree. Most natural materials have to be
manipulated before the artist can weave, so it helps knowing how they are ‘put together’ in the first
place. Ash and oak trees grow in layers under the bark so their growth rings can be separated. Bark can
be removed from vines and trees; fibers can be extracted from leaves and stems. It’s all a matter of
knowing the characteristics of the individual plant.
My work has been displayed in art galleries and juried exhibitions in the US and Canada, and my
signature woven antler sculptures are in numerous private collections. I recently presented a seminar on
black ash basketry at Disney’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts, and visitors to Central Florida can interact with an installation of large baskets I created with living vines on a mature oak tree. I am a member of the National Basketry Organization, Fiber Arts Network, and Professional Association of