Lisa Hastings grew up in Durango Colorado where she spent her childhood roaming among the tall pines and quaking aspen trees. This instilled in her a love of the natural world and an awe for the beauty it evokes. After high school, Lisa spent a year as an exchange student in Norway. Tucked away in a fjord along the western coast, her host mother taught Lisa to knit and weave along with the patience required to complete such an extended process. Upon Lisa’s return to Colorado, she attended Fort Lewis College in Durango where she acquired a degree in Fine Art. This is where Lisa learned to work with clay.
While pursuing a career in ceramics, Lisa happened to fall upon a “how to” book on pine needle basket weaving, and she imagined that it might be a perfect fit with her pottery. She began by gathering the pine needles on her property and learned to weave baskets using the supplies that nature provided. Over time, and with trial and error, Lisa developed what she calls “vaskettes,” by fusing the art of pottery with pine needle weaving. Many “happy accidents” occurred along the way, which led her to her current process. For instance, a broken pot inspired Lisa to begin carving her pottery, and in some cases, weaving them back together.
As Lisa’s creativity grew even further, she became obsessed with rock shops, fossils and all things beautiful that could be incorporated into her work. Then, by the early 2000’s, an article was written about her work in a craft magazine, and it caught the attention a buyer for the Smithsonian’s Renwick American Craft Gallery. From there, more art gallery representation followed, and Lisa’s work is relished by collectors across the US and abroad.
In 2018, Lisa married and moved to her husband’s home state of Pennsylvania, where they now reside on 100 wooded acres. This majestic environment offers Lisa unlimited inspiration from the beauty of her surroundings. There, she’s continually on the look-out for new items to incorporate into her artwork, and she feels blessed by having the time and materials to create daily. Lisa’s fond of saying, “it’s a great gig if you can get it!” Being able to pursue her passion has been a gift beyond measure and she’s grateful to have the opportunity to share it with others.
Lisa begins by throwing pottery on a wheel. When the vase is leather-hard, she hand carves designs onto the pottery- generally of a geometric or organic nature. She then hand-drills holes along the vase for coil weaving pine needles on and around the pottery. Then, the vase is set aside to completely dry before firing and glazing. Lisa often overlaps glazes to encourage unpredictable drips. Opening the kiln after a glaze firing is always exciting, and Lisa often is met with some degree of trepidation as she discovers how the glazes have emerged during the firing.
Once the pottery is complete, Lisa commences weaving. The pine needles have to be boiled, then the caps are removed one at a time from each set of pine needles. This is extremely labor-intensive, but the preparation is an integral part of her work. Once the pine needles are properly prepared, she begins by feeding the pine needles into a piece of tubing, in some cases she uses the cut off end of a straw. This allows the coil to be of a consistent size and can hold the pine needles together while she coil-weaves them on and around the pottery- all while incorporating stones, fossils, shells or whatever she finds of beauty in nature.
Once the weaving is complete, she sets each piece aside and allows the pine needles to completely dry-out before sealing them with a polyurethane to protect the needles. Finally, each unique vaskette is catalogued and numbered.
“I enjoy being surrounded by beautiful things, and I’m honored to be allowed to create beauty for other people.”