Debora Muhl, from Spinnerstown, PA, is a self-taught artist who creates basket-like sculptural forms from coils of sweet grass, a plant often used in traditional basketry. Sweet grass, as its name implies, has a sweet, vanilla aroma that becomes stronger after the grass has been harvested and dried. The grass has been used historically throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa and is considered by Native Americans to be a sacred plant that will purify the body and soul.
Muhl's respect for the material and traditional basketry techniques are evident. Her forms resemble functional baskets but their asymmetry and irregular, free form alignment of coils emphasizes the object's sculptural beauty. Unlike traditional basketry, Muhl's forms are created primarily through improvisation, without a preset plan, in order for her to explore new possibilities and to create unique, one-of-a-kind works of art.