Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Desire Lines 2010 by Stella Harding.  Photo Sylvain Deleu.  Stake and strand technique with foraged materials - for more details see 'Practical Basketry Techniques'

DESIRE LINES - this is one of my storylines.  I made this piece in March 2010 and exhibited it later that year at the New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham Surrey.  It's made from painted applewood - stencilled through lace - red dogwood and rattan (centre cane). 

Titles are very important to me, they add an extra strand to the narrative nature of a piece - sometimes an element of intrigue or, as here, a double meaning.  Few people I've spoken to about this piece have heard of the term 'desire lines'.  They are tracks or pathways eroded over time by continuous footfall which mark a short cut or the most direct route between two points.  The term was coined by town planners and desire lines are often seen in urban settings such as parks or public spaces but can be made by either animals or humans in rural locations.

As a child living amongst the smoke and factories in the industrial east end of Sheffield I was often taken out into the country-side of Derbyshire by my grandparents.  There we would follow the desire lines of sheep, rabbits and Sunday ramblers through the heather and wild bilberries over the moors above Foxhouse and Froggatt.  In the 1930s my grandparents had joined a 'mass trespass' on these moors to uphold the right of people from nearby towns to walk freely on public land.

I enjoy working in a free way with open, linear, three dimensional structures using natural materials and contemporary basketry is the perfect medium for this. My desire, though, is to mark my materials and forms with my own storylines.

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