Impressive baskets at MAC

An exhibition showcases a variety of functional and whimsical baskets


The Basket Cases are selling their eye-catching and intricate creations at the McMillan Arts Centre until the end of the month.

The group, with members on Gabriola Island and Nanaimo, makes artful baskets out of mostly natural materials they have collected. This includes honeysuckle and blackberry vines, kelp, pine needles, ivy and driftwood.

The Basket Cases formed in 2002 on Gabriola Island when a tapestry weaver and basket-maker thought she’d get a group of people together to make and sell baskets to benefit the food bank at Christmas time. It worked and they raised $1,800.

Marylyn Beaubien was one of the women who took part and made her first basket.

“There was enough of us who were enthused about it and wanting to carry on, so we formed a loose group and started meeting every week,” she said.

The baskets Beaubien has made range from a small egg-cup sized one to a large laundry basket. Some baskets in the show at the MAC are functional and others, whimsical art pieces. Many of the elements in the baskets have been dyed, showing a range of colours. Beaubien shared what can be found at the show.

“Many are brightly coloured, some of them made with totally natural material, so they’re all lovely soft browns and golds and greys and greens— a wide range for sure.”

There are 137 baskets in the show including potato baskets, market or berry-picking baskets, vegetable baskets and more.

The exhibition is up in the Oceanside Gallery until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, in the Concert Gallery, visitors will find Small in Nature. This is the 16th annual miniature show  displaying two and three dimensional work from local and international artists.

In the Nemeth Gallery work by photographer John Whitelaw can be found. This includes patterns, avian portraits, constructions and whimsy. None of the shots have been significantly digitally altered.

For more on the McMillan Arts Centre visit or call 250-248-8185.