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Joyce V. Coakley

Sweetgrass Baskets and the Gullah Tradition

Sweetgrass Baskets and the Gullah Tradition

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Seen on the roadways of Charleston County and in museums and galleries worldwide, handmade sweetgrass baskets have been crafted in the Christ Church Parish of Mount Pleasant, SC for more than 300 years.


An ancient African art, sweetgrass basket making utilizes sweetgrass, bullrush, pine needles, and palm leaves to create unique, handmade pieces. Traditionally, artisans use a piece of the rib bone of a cow and a pair of scissors as their only tools for construction. When English settlers founded Christ Church Parish in the late 1600s, they saw a place rich in natural beauty and ideal for harvesting rice, cotton, and indigo. Skilled agricultural laborers were needed, and consequently, South Carolina became the top importer of enslaved West Africans. Finding a landscape similar to their homeland, those who came kept many of their traditional practices. Today, the richness of the West African presence can be seen in Charleston's architecture, basketry, and ironworks.



Binding Type: Paperback
Author: Coakley, Joyce V.
Published: 01/11/2006
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (SC)
ISBN: 9780738518305
Pages: 128
Weight: 0.71lbs
Size: 9.22h x 6.58w x 0.36d
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