Row Upon Row: Sea Grass Baskets of the S.C. Lowcountry

During the past century, as the economic suitability of some traditional crafts have declined, cultural tenacity has encouraged others to survive. A leading example is the production of sea grass, or sweetgrass, baskets along the coast of South Carolina. With roots in West Africa, this African American tradition followed the contours of rice culture, which spread along tidal rivers as far as North Carolina and northern Florida. Today, sweetgrass basketry is concentrated in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and in isolated pockets around Charleston County. During the past century, as the economic suitability of some traditional crafts have declined, cultural tenacity has encouraged others to survive. A leading example is the production of sea grass, or sweetgrass, baskets along the coast of South Carolina. With roots in West Africa, this African American tradition followed the contours of rice culture, which spread along tidal rivers as far as North Carolina and northern Florida. Today, sweetgrass basketry is concentrated in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and in isolated pockets around Charleston County.

Type
Gullah Baskets | Digital Traditions
Gullah Baskets | Digital Traditions

Video

Excerpt from the 1971 SCETV production "Gullah Baskets." This short documentary was narrated by James Clyburn and discusses the properties of sweetgrass, gathering techniques, and environmental...
Mazie Brown  | Digital Traditions
Mazie Brown | Digital Traditions

Video

Mazie Brown describes a typical day at her basket stand along Highway 17. Brown talks of her history as a basketmaker and of her mother who also had a stand. From the "Row Upon Row" documentary...
Charleston Basketweavers | Digital Traditions
Charleston Basketweavers | Digital Traditions

Video

Excerpt from 1986 USC News production. Dale Rosengarten discusses sweetgrass basketry as a part of the Charleston tourist trade, as well as a one of the most highly recognized African-American art...