Monday, July 20, 2015

Sweetgrass and Pineneedle baskets

I have continued to experiment with sewing sweetgrass coiled baskets.

For this basket I combined sweetgrass coils with
pineneedles.  Brown pineneedle coils formed the base. 
Using palmetto strips I continued the base and sides
with sweetgrass coils.

The top of the basket has a coil of black pine needles
held with black waxed linen.   A sliced walnut was
added to two sides and held in place with a final coil
of black pineneedles.

I coiled red dyed pine needles around a wood burned oval base using waxed linen.

After several rows of red pineneedles, I switched to black pine needles.

I ended the coiled basket with two rows of sweetgrass. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sweet Grass Basketry

Mary Graham-Grant is dedicated to preserving the tradition of sweet grass basketry that was brought to South Carolina by slaves who came from West Africa.   Born and reared along the coast in Georgetown, South Carolina,  Mary Graham-Grant makes baskets similar to the baskets that are made in Sierra Leone, Africa.   She spent a week at Common Ground on the Hill sharing her knowledge and expertise.

I took Mary Graham-Grant's class to learn this technique of "sewing" coiled baskets. The center of the basket begins with a longleaf pine needle knot. Sweet grass, which grows in marshy coastal areas of South Carolina, are bundled and  coiled around the center.  Using strips of palmetto leaves to bind the coils of sweet grass the base is woven to the desired diameter.  The sides are then raised to the desired height.  I added a twisted loop handle on one side of my basket.  

You can learn more about Mary Graham-Grant and her baskets by visiting her website: