Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sweetgrass Baskets: Traditional Craft, Stunning Storage

sweetgrass basket

Just a few years ago, Nikia Wigfall needed only to drive to the nearby marshes to harvest the sweetgrass that she and other descendants of slaves weave into the beautiful baskets sold to tourists in and around this antebellum port city.

But booming coastal development has made finding the clumps of long, swaying sweetgrass tougher and tougher.
--Bruce Smith,, writing about the sweetgrass basket tradition in Charleston, South Carolina

When I wrote about pine needle baskets a few days ago, commenter JustGail mentioned sweetgrass baskets - and while I'd come across them before, her comment made me really take a good look. The story behind these baskets is fascinating; the article I quoted briefly is worth reading in full, and there's a sweetgrass basketry site with pointers to more good reading.

And some of the baskets are just stunning. This "elephant ear" basket is made by Lillie Howard, and can be found at Edisto Sweetgrass Baskets or Artists and Artisans Gallery.

sweetgrass basket with lid

This lidded basket comes from Darryl and Angela Stoneworth of DNA Sweetgrass Baskets.

sweetgrass basket

And this "canister basket" comes from Sweetgrass Baskets of Charleston by Eva Wright.

sweetgrass basket

Ruthy sells her sweetgrass baskets on Etsy.

All the basketmakers shown here make baskets in many styles, so their sites are worth a look if you want to see more lovely things.


MarySees said...

These are beautiful baskets!

Jeri Dansky said...

Glad you like them, MarySees!