Blue Ridge

The rocky Blue Ridge of upstate South Carolina is the smallest landform region in the state. The area's high hills and low mountains (highest is 3,560-foot Sassafras Mountain) are home to the Cherokee people, once the largest group of Native Americans in the southeast. Traditions and customs of the Cherokee, and Scots Irish settlers who arrived in the 17th century, pervade the cultural landscape of the Blue Ridge. The area is home to the most diverse community of animals and plants in the state, and is popular among hikers, naturalists, hunters, and anglers. Fast moving, whitewater rivers of the Blue Ridge are a playground for canoeists and kayakers.

Meet artists from the Blue Ridge area of South Carolina below. Please note many of the web videos include transcripts. The artists are trained professionals who often use tools not considered safe for inexperienced users. Please review the safety disclaimer.

Type
Spotlight - Nancy Basket | A Natural State
Spotlight - Nancy Basket | A Natural State

Video

Organic materials such as pine needles are considered "free for the taking" and have qualities that can not be reproduced by humans. But collecting natural materials comes at a price for the...
Spotlight - Nils Udo | A Natural State
Spotlight - Nils Udo | A Natural State

Video

Since the early 1970s, Nils-Udo has reshaped the land to achieve "absolute purity," where, "every non-natural element is ruled out as impure. No other materials are used but those found in each...
Coiled Kudzu Basket - Step 1  | A Natural State
Coiled Kudzu Basket - Step 1 | A Natural State

Video

Nancy begins a coiled basket with a handful of kudzu shreds, (see Kudzu, Video 5). Raffia, a fibrous thread like material, is wrapped around the kudzu shreds, starting the coil. The base of the basket...
Construction of Nest - Process
Construction of Nest - Process

Video

During our visit, Nils-Udo and a team of students and volunteers made final touches to the massive nest constructed of natural materials. Donned in parkas and muddy boots, the crew finished weaving...
Coiled Kudzu Basket - Step 2 | A Natural State
Coiled Kudzu Basket - Step 2 | A Natural State

Video

Organic raffia and the kudzu shreds come in varying lengths. After three or four wraps of the coiled basket, one usually runs out of kudzu and/or raffia. In this step Nancy shows how to add new pieces...
Dedication | A Natural State
Dedication | A Natural State

Video

Nils-Udo’s site-specific sculpture is often described as his "response" to an environment. Forms are inspired by the natural space in which he works. All of the senses drive the artist’s work, a...
Coiled Kudzu Basket - Step 3 | A Natural State
Coiled Kudzu Basket - Step 3 | A Natural State

Video

The coiled basket takes shape as Nancy builds up its sides. In this video, Nancy shows how one controls the overall shape and size of the basket as successive rows of the coil are built up.