Lee Sipe adds something from her Asian heritage to each basket and pot she creates. Her designs are delicate and precise, combining beauty with function.
She collects pine needles from her yard in South Carolina and selects and cleans each piece of straw, paying particular attention to the scent and texture. Preferring natural products, she uses traditional dyes found in nature to add color to the pine needles and raffia used in her work. On her baskets that combine pottery and needles, she uses the slab technique, altering by hand the shape of the clay. She changes the mixture of glazes and oxides in her finishes and occasionally adds agate and burl wood accents. Sipe’s wire baskets are made by twining copper wire between copper spokes or by random weaving. Melting a bead on the copper wire and then hammering it flat create the metal accents.
“My heritage helps me to appreciate the unusual beauty in the common, the simple and the ordinary as well as the beauty of form and detail. I use weaving, twining, hand building and coiling to transform pine needles, clay, reeds, copper wire and other materials into forms that capture my experiences. I value order, hard work, detail, the beauty and tranquility of nature, tradition, family and sharing with friends. I also place great value on innovation. I consistently strive to create works that incorporate these values and are totally new, fresh and unique.” — Lee Sipe
Sipe’s work is in numerous collections including the South Carolina State Museum and Huntsville Museum of Art (AL). She has exhibited extensively throughout the Eastern United States in venues such as the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum (SC) and Florence Museum (SC). Lee currently works from her studio in South Carolina.