Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 47 acres of botanical bliss fronting the Pacific Ocean

Art in the Gardens

2021 Featured Artist  |  CAROLYN ZEITLER

This year’s Featured Artist, Carolyn Zeitler, graduated from San Jose State University in 1976 with a degree in ceramics and weaving. Carolyn started making baskets while she worked as a U.S. Forest Service fire look-out in Big Sur, California. These baskets were created using the native Coulter Pine needles that grow in the Los Padres National Forest. Since then, Zeitler's baskets have evolved as a kind of marriage, combining her two loves – clay and fiber.

2021 AIG Featured Artwork

Passing Through

Coulter Pine Needles and Raffia – 14” x 13”

Zeitler explains:
"I have worked exclusively with pine needles for over 30 years because they are so simplistic and straightforward. My only tools are my hands and a needle. The repetitive rhythm of the stitches becomes a kind of meditation. It’s amazing that one can take a material as mundane as a pine needle and create something that celebrates its beauty and strength. There are inherent limitations to the medium that create a challenge to search beyond its boundaries for something that reflects both the tradition of craft and the innovation of art.

It is my hope that when people look at my baskets they will begin to look at pine needles and the beauty of trees in a whole new way."

More of Zeitler's work can be seen at