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: firstname.lastname@example.org