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Homer Burning Basket: Two decades of fire art on Homer's Spit

This year, the 15-foot-tall basket was centered around the theme “breathe.”
Hope McKenney
Last year, the 15-foot-tall basket was centered around the theme “breathe.”

Burning Basket is the brainchild of local artist Mavis Muller, who describes it as a volunteer-dependent, weather-affected labor of love, and a site specific, interactive, and impermanent art experience.

The basket itself is a large sculpture, almost large enough to park a car inside, and it’s made with locally sourced natural materials, like alders, spruce, fireweed, and grasses. All intricately woven together to express the natural beauty of the area. Over the years, the basket has had various names, encouraging action, such as Reflect, Inspire, Dream, or Breath. This year, the basket is titled Create: Basket of Remembrance and Unburdening.

“Now create means to conceive, and to design and construct and we’ll be doing all of that. We will bring something into existence through our thoughts and imagination,” says artist Mavis Muller.

She invites community members to participate in the decoration of the basket from noon to sundown each day this week, to add inspirational sentiments, remembrances of departed loved ones, and personal embellishments.

“So no experience is necessary, just a desire to celebrate creativity and imagination, and the result from my years of observation is the beautiful poetic collage.”

In addition to the basket, a second creative installation will be constructed by students from Fireweed Academy, a walking path to surround the basket, meant to remain in place until the winter storms wash it away. The basket however will make its fiery exit this Sunday at sundown, as it is symbolically burned as a performance of fire art. The ceremony will include a drum circle, and fire dancers. This is a drug and alcohol free event, and please leave your dogs at home.

Local News Homer Burning BasketHomer Alaska
Josh is a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a degree in communications and broadcasting, and a Certified Audio Engineer through the Society of Broadcast Engineers. At 13, he got his first taste for public radio when he interned at KBBI, an experience that shaped his career. Josh returns to Homer after twelve years with Classical 90.7 KVNO, in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was senior audio engineer and production coordinator. Previously he was station manager/general manager of KUHB-FM, St. Paul, Alaska, in the Pribilof Islands.
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