By Donna Allen
The Vermont Journal
CHESTER, Vt. – Willow Bascom told of her growing up in Arabia and Panama and visiting other places around the world in her presentation at Gallery 103 in Chester on Saturday.
She was a passionate fan of tribal art and hugely influenced by the varying cultures to which she was introduced. She began to draw after a debilitating 12 years with Lupus. The influence of tribal art can be felt throughout her colorful artwork in her nonfiction children’s book called Paisley, Pig and Friends, regarding art, geography and culture. It is Willow’s alphabet book, a unique alphabet learning experience that captivates the child’s imagination while exposing them to international art styles.
As stated on the website, “Willow’s alphabet book is much more than meets the eye. As animals and art styles for each letter leap off the page, maps and brief lessons describe where each style originated and how it has spread across the world”. Willow explains, “I wanted to do my bit to increase map literacy while introducing children to the many beautiful ways people have found to express themselves through the natural resources in their environment.” She discusses the way in which art styles native in one part of the world have spread and been adapted in other parts of the globe.
In her book an example of her communicating the movement of art is a paisley shawl and a wrapping paper book of paisley patterns. The origin of paisley in India is a symbol of life. When brought back to Great Britain it became a produced textile in Paisley, Scotland. Bascom is concerned with demonstrating the multi-cultural cross cross-fertilizing that has been a long time part of human development.
Since Lupus, Bascom has found alternative ways to overcome and continue on with her work. She lost the ability to grip the colored pencils she had gotten used to, so she picked up colorful Sharpies and continued. She now draws the basic outlines of each piece by hand, then digitally scans the images and uses Photoshop to provide the color. She is on a continuum of change when it comes to her abilities and how it affects her process.