First American Art Magazine No. 21, Winter 2018/19 - Page 49

LINDA AGUILAR above, left The Artist’s Tools, horsehair, waxed linen thread, stone, beads, shell, 4 in. diameter, private collection. All images courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted. above, right Shells, Bells, and Pollywogs, 2000, part of Clown series, black horsehair, abalone and other shells, bells, and waxed linen thread, approximately 10 in. diameter, private collection. opposite Linda Aguilar posing with The Thinking Hat in her studio. need something that goes by faster [than weaving does]. When I do something in one quilt or basket, it inspires something in another [form]. California Native weavers made basket hats, so when some ask where I get an idea, I say it came out of my thinking hat. My quilts went in a different direc- tion. I was doing a more defined quilt and started … using sequins for the Going Vegas artwork at SAR. A gallery representative asked me to do a Bigfoot- themed piece. I did a quilt with a big footprint on it and leaves made out of sequins and flannel. That piece was inspired by my walks and picking up leaves from the ground. I remember reading an article that stated you were changing the shape of basketry. I define the basket differently. For example, one of my baskets represented a casino. A bingo basket for a bingo parlor. It’s not a basket, but it has the shape or look of a basket. I’m changing the meaning of baskets. I’ve thought about doing a flying saucer. My theme is going to continue on with some hats. When I first started doing the hats, I thought about doing a flying saucer because I talked to you. You and I had a conversation. I liked it; it changed the flying saucer into a hat. My creative process … one thing I do like is giving names to the baskets, sometimes … several names. Why do you give the baskets names? When I was in school I was painting and noticed that they thought of [the paintings] a bit more seriously. Then, I started giving [the baskets] themes and ideas. I like to give several names to a basket—the larger baskets, not the small ones. I had a green-and-yellow basket, a-tisket, a-tasket. It’s little sayings. Sticks and Stones—something to do with chil- dren’s rhymes. Sometimes I dream about materials. In one dream I had gone to the beach and was looking for shells with holes in them. The next day I went to the beach, and the whole beach had shells with holes in them. What landscape do you live in now? There are rivers, ponds, and lakes. There is driftwood at the rivers. I never thought I would find driftwood there, but now I find pieces of wood at the edge. I collect materials. I collect vines—little curlicues. I collect them and put them with other materials, beads, and credit card pieces. Native beadwork is mostly all the same size, perfectly matched. I have a hard time with that approach. I focus on the color. I love color. I think for 30 years I made baskets in brown, white, or black. That’s why I went to crazy quilts. I’ve been putting beads on the baskets; it was difficult because I didn’t have that color. I’m changing the meaning of baskets. Do you have a philosophy on basket weaving? Baskets flow in their own pattern. A respected Native California basket maker, Mabel McKay, used to say, “Each basket has a dream. The dream is you.” Whenever I was invited to do a show at Pacific Western Traders, the owner would have me sit in Aunt Mabel’s chair, one they kept there. I feel very connected with her at times. Each basket has its own way of being. Sometimes I can focus, and it flows; it goes the way it wants to go. I like to play movies or films that are comedies or love stories, something light and fun, when I am weaving. It makes it easier to work. Sometimes while weaving WINTER 2018/19 | 47