Artsville Feature: Jo Miller Mimics Woven Basketry with Woodturning
Asheville-based artist Jo Miller creates intricate woodturning that fools the eye, as the wood masquerades as woven sweetgrass.
“I let the wood speak to me, defining my direction by its grain, a crack that inspires a design or shape, or even the rough edge of the bark itself,” says Jo Miller, a talented Asheville-based woodturner.
It’s hard to believe after looking at her creations that Jo started her woodturning journey only six years ago in 2016, when she joined Carolina Mountain Woodturners. About a year after starting, she got a lathe, which allowed her to try new crafting techniques such as off-centered turning, embellishing, and carving on wood.
As she learned how to skillfully work with the wood, she was introduced to a new, intricate technique called basket illusion where a turned piece of wood is made to resemble woven basketry. She took a week-long course with Harvey Meyer of the American Association of Woodturners to learn the skill, and the rest is history. Jo’s practice now focuses on this technique, as the graph pattern satisfies her inner scientist—she’s retired, but had a long career in science and research—and plays to her artistic strengths.
Jo’s detailed creations show a reverence for the material she works with, and an enthusiasm for precision. Her basket illusion woodturning is on display in “A Walk in the Woods” at Artsville Collective through October 30. “A Walk in the Woods” displays the work of five outstanding guest artists as they offer their artistic take on the Carolina woodlands. The guest artists include Mary Farmer; encaustics, Jim McDowell; ceramic face jugs; Bronwen McCormick; watercolors, Jo Miller; basket illusion woodturning, and Ellen Golden; abstract photography. Head to the event calendar for more information.