Arelene Zaloznik

AZ Baskets
El Paso, TX

Basketry is my passion.  It brings an inner peace that I hope you will find, as well, as you look at my baskets.  I began basket weaving in 1996 after taking a class while visiting a friend in Alaska.  Other than that one class, I am mostly self taught and work out of my studio in my home in El Paso, TX. 

My pine needle gourd baskets are woven in a coiled fashion using either waxed linen or artificial sinew as the coiling thread depending on the effect I want to create.  I cut and clean the gourds, then finish them with a furniture polish to maintain and enhance the natural finish of the gourd.  The gourds are then sprayed with a protective acrylic spray.  The gourd baskets are embellished with black walnut slices, antler pieces, natural gemstones (turquoise, malachite, coral, lapis, etc.), botanicals, feathers, fossils, and beads.  Usually I have no plans for the embellishments – I look at the gourd – letting it speak to me – and then I select the botanicals, feathers and beads, often spending several hours until I find that “right” combination.  Some gourds are dyed to complement the weaving and embellishments.  The dyed gourds are sprayed with a UV protectant spray to reduce the risk of the dyes fading.

Enjoy your basket as much as I have enjoyed creating it!  May it bring you much peace and happiness.