Santa Fe Arts Journal
Emily Van Cleve, Founder/Editor
Kristina Varjan has been dedicating herself to the art of making pine needle baskets for the past four years.
It’s a labor-intensive experience that’s hard on the eyes. For an artist who spent years restoring Navajo rugs and never thought she’d be doing such meticulous and demanding work again, it’s turned out to be completely pleasurable.
“A stone, shell or fossil is the beginning point of each basket,” says Varjan, whose show “Presentations: Baskets of Peace by Kristina Varjan opens on August 3 at OTA Contemporary. “They help determine the shape of and colors within the baskets.”
The history of pine needle baskets stretches back thousands of years. Before she made her first baskets, Varjan hunted down every book she could find that documented the various processes involved with making pine needle baskets.
“I don’t add color to the pine needles, and I stay away from chemical dyes,” she says. “Beads are woven into the baskets. Fossils, shells and stones that are in the bottom of the baskets are glued into pieces of leather.”