Brenda Fairweather has found that, rather than focusing on just one medium, she prefers to draw from techniques in both basketry and ceramics. Whether weaving or working with clay, she loves artwork that can be created with her hands and reflects her love of nature. Likewise, she enjoys the variety of working in solitude or in an atmosphere with others. To Brenda, it is about the process, not just the end result. "It's not about producing or something called artwork," she says. "It's about creating."
Marketing her weaving under the name d'vine baskets by brenda, brenda creates her baskets and handles out of found driftwood and wild grapevines from the Shenandoah Valley as well as imported reeds that are not available in the United States. brenda prefers using grapevines as she feels they lend an "organic, natural feel and look" to her baskets, her favorite of which use ribbed designs. The rib style is influenced by the Appalachian culture where baskets were an essential tool in their lives. Long before plastic bags or cardboard boxes were manufactured, baskets were used for gathering, holding, carrying and even relocating chickens along with their eggs or brood of chicks. She uses lots of color fabric and dyed reed to add texture and interest to her baskets. Baskets are durable and are intended to be used often either functionally or as decoration. They can be cleaned once or twice a year by briefly dipping into a tub of warm water and a capful of Murphy's Oil soap then allowed to dry in an area with good circulation and away from direct sunlight. Since natural materials are used, there will be some 'aging' of the materials the basket is woven of and they may grow darker and richer in color.
brenda first discovered her love of working with clay while taking pottery classes around the age of 50. So inspired by the medium, she soon purchased her own equipment and set up a studio at home. As her interest grew, she began marketing her work as Hot Flash Pottery which is NOT a firing technique but embraces a season of her life.
Her pottery is primarily designed to be functional but she does include some ornamental pieces. Her favorite clay body is a light color stoneware although she does sometime use a speckled brown stoneware. The clays and glazes are all food safe and intended to be used daily. The pottery is microwave safe, so it can be heated, dishwasher safe, so it can be cleaned and can be used in an oven (it is advised to begin with a cold oven when baking in handmade pottery).