VideoBennett discusses new designs, special occasion baskets customers request, and uses of pine needle, sweetgrass, and palm in basket weaving.
Basketmaking in South Carolina reflects the blending of Native American, European and African traditions to create two predominate types of baskets - the coiled baskets of the Lowcountry and woven baskets of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge. Native Americans used river cane to plait baskets, mats and fish traps. Europeans maintained Old World techniques and forms, adapting them to new materials like white oak to weave their harvest baskets and clothes hampers. On the coast, enslaved Africans brought their knowledge of rice production and introduced coiled basketry using local sweetgrass, bulrush, palmetto, and pine needles. Today, traditional basketmakers have adapted their forms to a changing market and most baskets are made for decorative use.
Content is provided by McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina.
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Within this Series
VideoSnype and Eartha Lee Washington find more value and meaning in using the traditional sweetgrass than the more widely available bulrush. Video is provided by McKissick Museum, University of South...
VideoJohn Derrick talks about the skills he learned from his father.
VideoSnype and Washington discuss the innovations in sweetgrass basket design and the progression through various basket types. Video is provided by McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina.
VideoDerrick finishes the rim on a split oak basket and prepares to attach the handle.
VideoBennett instructing students.
VideoBennett’s family used sweetgrass baskets for corn and rice, but mostly the baskets were sold to supplement family income.
VideoBennett provides a history of basket making at the Boone Hall rice plantation and the uses of the fanner basket.
VideoBennett relates how the children in her family would help her mother make baskets by beginning the bottoms.
VideoBennett identifies and gives the usage for the baskets she makes.