Matt Tommey weaves sculptural and elegant baskets. His materials are not fancy – he uses kudzu vine, local bittersweet vine and poplar bark. Patrons are usually very curious about his use of kudzu vine. This invasive plant is known in the south as a pest, but is actually very beautiful if harvested and used in baskets! Mountain laurel branches are another feature material in larger baskets. In combination, Matt thoughtfully and skillfully uses these materials as a modern portrayal of this ancient art form.
Matt’s personality is high-energy and he’s an enthusiastic maker. He has steadily risen to a successful place in the art basket world. A juried member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Piedmont Craftsmen and a Past Board Member of the National Basketry Organization you’d think Matt would be overwhelmed…but he finds time to coach others, teach workshops, travel as a conference speaker and demonstrate in his Asheville art studio. Matt takes his role as a maker to heart by creating quality unique baskets and sharing his knowledge with others. He has written 3 books, has an extensive marketing background and finds time to film videos.
Gathering materials at the right time of year is a big part of the process of basket making. Collecting his materials takes Matt out into the woods and gives him an opportunity to search and be inspired by what he finds in the mountains of Western NC or Northern GA. In fact, Matt uses the tag line “every basket begins with a walk in the woods” as a great reminder that his materials are sourced nearby, by him and fully made in the USA!
In contrast to walking in the woods, Matt’s studio is in the bustling industrial River Arts District of Asheville! Come with me to visit Matt and see the many ways he has woven and sculpted natural materials into a beautiful art baskets.