Maker of the Week - Gerri Johnson-McMillin

Monday 28 November 2011

Born in Pittsburg, in 1947, Gerri's family moved to California in 1954. Gerri has been creating art since her early childhood and loves the fibre arts. In 1972, she took her first basketry class. Although this is now her main medium, she still enjoys weaving, spinning and knotting. She is known for her fishbone vessels and knotted fiber sculptures. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Museum of Ventura County, the Municipal Art Collection of Ventura City and various private collections. Since 1999, she has been an Artist-in-Residence at Studio Channel Islands Art Center (SCIART) in Camarillo, where she teaches and was instrumental in developing the Fiber Art Studio.

According to Gerri, the ocean and what lies beneath its surface is the driving force behind her art. This inspires and emotionally connects both Gerri and the viewer with life's experiences: "My work encourages people to look beyond perceived boundaries and to find delight in unexpected combinations of materials. I catch my own albacore tuna and use their pectoral fins along with monofilament to create my fish bone vessel forms." In working with the bones, Gerri feels she is weaving life back into the fish and experiencing their migratory path throughout the world. Yet the end result is her sending them on another journey as another form. This, in turn, sends her on travels that recall the joys and tribulations of each fishing trip: "These woven vessels are 'my jewels of the sea', 'my vessels of remembrance'," she says.




Images, from top to bottom:

1. 'Caribbean Sea', albacore fishbone, electric blue outside, green inside monofilament, glass beads, 125 (5in) high x 125mm (5in) dia.

2. 'Pink Lady', albacore fishbone, pink monofilament, glass beads, 75mm (3in) high x 180mm (7in) dia.

3. 'Paradise', albacore fishbone, multi orange-blue outside, blue inside monofilament, glass beads, 115mm (4 ½in) high x 150mm (6in) dia.

4. 'Abyss', albacore fishbone, orange monofilament, orange sac, colbalt blue glass beads, 125mm (5in) high x 125mm (5in) dia.

5. 'Immanence', albacore fishbones, light green outside, yellow inside monofilament, glass beads, 125mm (5in) high x 150mm (6in) dia. (PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF GERRI MCMILLIN)