Stephen Kostyshyn, Mixed Media Artist
Stephen Kostyshyn is a mixed media artist working out of his studio in Cedar, Michigan. All of his pieces are made of a combination of clay, fiber and wood. Hand assembled and woven using traditional techniques, Stephen often accentuates his work using weaving materials such as red osier, birch bark and palm. The clay parts are wheel thrown and altered using high fired stoneware with wood ash glazes.
After completing my BFA at Adrian College in 1976, and then working as a studio potter for fifteen years, I am finally able to create the mixed-media baskets I have always dreamed about. Unhampered by the limitations found with clay-only forms, texture, color, shape and size have become a satisfying reality. My baskets are made with a combination of three materials: clay, fiber (reed), and wood.
The clay is a high fired stoneware with dipped and brushed glazes. The challenge here is to have a clear vision of the completed basket before starting the piece. Using traditional wheel-throwing and hand building techniques, I finish the clay parts first. Once I have completed that I position and glue reed, dowel, or ash spokes in place. This stabilizes the form for weaving.
The final process is the weaving. I select the natural and dyed reed and weave plaited and twilled patterns. I will often choose palm, vine rattan, red osier, willow, or birch bark as accents to add a more natural feel and texture to my baskets.
Fascinated by exploring new and exciting shapes, I have been continually inspired to work with the vessel as form. Breaking from the clay-only vessel and exploring the endless possibilities afforded by basketry as an art form has allowed me to explore shapes and textures that were unattainable to me in the past.