Basket Lady Hands
Sweetgrass basket making has been part of Charleston for more than 300 years. Brought to the area by slaves from West Africa, the art form has been passed from generation to generation.
It is one of the oldest African art forms produced in the United States. The Charleston area is the only place where this type basketry is practiced.
As was custom, men and boys gathered the material and the women and girls "sewed" the baskets. The techniques are passed from mother, to daughter, and then to granddaughter. Rigorous craftsmanship and long hours are needed. Even the simplest design may take as long as twelve hours.
Today, art collectors and museums such as the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian purchase baskets.
This image was taken in 2001. This basket lady was working at her booth along Highway 17 in Mt. Pleasant.
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