Letters

Letters 05-30-2016

Oaks & Moths All of last week’s letters regarding recommendations for the best native plants from “Listen to the Experts” from the previous week were right on target. Those who are interested in learning more about native plants, and their importance to birds, bees and butterflies, would do well to read Dr. Douglas Tallamy’s wonderful book, Bringing Nature Home...

Poor Grades On Standardized Testing We have been enduring standardized testing for the last few weeks as our district isn’t allowing for opting out without student removal. I think other parents need to know and the district needs to address their own inconsistencies in policy...

Beware Trump  To describe Trump: hubristic, narcissistic, misogynistic, sociopathic. There are more descriptors. Should we pity this misfit or fear that his values attract such a large segment of our society? Hitler was spawned in the ferment of economic unrest...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Allen Brown Art
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Allen Brown Art

Priscilla Miller - November 15th, 2007
When Allen Brown of Rapid City laid down his dental drill ten years ago and retired from his downstate dental practice, he was looking for something to do that would give him a sense of fulfillment. He knew he possessed artistic abilities, because dentistry requires skill and precision. But what to do?
He had been weaving “conventional” baskets as a hobby, ever since the day he and his wife Sue stepped into a shop, in search of material to cane a chair seat with. Sue was the one who came up with the suggestion that Brown should try making baskets.
The first time Brown saw an antler basket, he was intrigued. “My impression was that it looked like an ordinary ribbed basket, but with an antler for a handle,” Brown says.
He decided to try incorporating an antler into one of his own baskets. Once again, he found himself using a drill - but instead of drilling teeth, he was drilling individual holes into an antler, for the basket’s reed to fit into. That was the beginning of Brown’s unique basket sculptures.
In 2003 he entered one of his baskets into an event by the Michigan Association of Basket Makers, and won both Best in Category and the Viewers’ Choice Award. Even though he knew he had those aforementioned abilities, he never thought of himself as a real artist; he thought that to be an artist, one had to have years of special training.
“I am so happy, I found something that I find satisfaction in doing,” Brown says.
He admits that because this is a hobby, he likes to challenge himself and really “push the envelope” to see how intricate his work can become. He says that he could never make two baskets alike, even if he tried, because every antler is different. He explains that none of his baskets are preconceived and says, that his work is always evolving.
“The shape of the antler causes the design of the basket to happen,” he explains.
His sculptured baskets always attract a crowd of admiring spectators, whether at The Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids, or, this past summer, at the juried Alden Depot Art Festival, held on the shores of Torch Lake.
And today, the dentist is finally realizing that he is, indeed, an artist.
 
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