American Craft Council Magazine
December/January 2021 Issue
"Wrapture" by Jon Spayde featuring Betsy Bauer's Wrappedrockz
Sneak Preview Link about the issue.
Article below, digital version will be available to public online in 2021.
More Questions from American Craft Interview
What materials do you use for your work? How do you source the materials? What is the process for creating your work?
I use rocks and natural cane. Many of the rocks I have collected over years in New Mexico, where I live and on my travels. Friends gift me rocks, too. With my painting and drawing background, I am constantly doing drawings for my designs and study Japanese basketry knots and naval knots. I soak the cane and wrap the rocks in my studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For some designs, I custom dye the cane. Some days, I quietly fall into a meditative state wrapping rocks. Other days, I am full of energy and bounce between drawing, designing new styles and experimenting with new ideas.
What makes you passionate about the medium you chose?
The natural, organic qualities of shape, size and texture of the rocks never cease to amaze and inspire me. Each rock has its very own character, energy and story. The fact that they are infinitely older than we are is humbling and opens up a soulful creative energy for me to work with from the start. Some nights I go to sleep just seeing different rock shapes and forms and wake up excited to begin a day in the studio with the rocks.
Are there any artists or other influences that inspire your work?
I have been a long time painter, living in Santa Fe NM for three decades. So Georgia O'Keeffe's work has been an inspiration. Also, Isamu Noguchi's work with stone. The first wrapped rocks I saw that inspired me were made by Shizu Designs, with a distinct Japanese style and Deloss Webber, with roots in basket making.
How do you suggest your products are best styled, displayed, or utilized?
Place them on an altar during prayer and meditation. Or simply display them in a vignette or tablescape to enhance your connection to the natural world. Pairing the wrapped rocks with minimal black ceramic bowls and plates is a great way to display them.
What is something unexpected or unique about yourself or your work?
Many people purchase my wrapped rocks as gifts. People have given my rocks to friends or family in healing crises and they have held the wrapped rocks always and kept them close. I often get feedback about the calming and comforting qualities of my work. The wrapped rocks have been great gifts to bridge the gap between people during the pandemic when they could not visit each other. As gifts, they seem to hold a deep meaningful energy that connects people together and with nature. These stories of healing and connection inspire me and bring me great joy.
How much time do you spend creating an item on average?
Including design and working out the execution of the design, it can take weeks. Sometimes in the actual making of a rock, I will need a few attempts to reach the quality of the finished product that satisfies me. Selecting the correct shape of a rock and the right design is important. To wrap an individual rock from start to finish, including refining the details can be at least a few hours.
What currently is keeping you nourished, inspired, and passionate for creating craft?
A bottomless well of excitement and vision of the endless creative possibilities for my wrapped rocks keeps me inspired. I love that no two rocks are the same, so even recreating the same design creates infinite variety. I envision a huge bowl of just the Black & White Zia design, for example, with the ying-yang of the black and white coils. The process is both meditative and energizing for me, so I never tire of making the wrapped rocks. I've done some commissions using special rocks from client's collections. I also find great nourishment in my connection with my client's and their enthusiasm about my work.