8 x 10"
oil on panel
Watching the skillful hands of the Gullah men and women weaving their baskets with sweetgrass and thin strands of palmetto leaves is quite awesome.
A little history - the unique culture called Gullah is a blend of African and European that lives today in Sea Islands along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. All around the city of Charleston SC, the Gullahs exhibit a long standing West African tradition of what they call 'sewing' baskets made of dried sweetgrass and thin strands of palmetto leaves - both resources that grow in the low country region. Their technique is not the usual weaving - rather they bundle dried sweetgrass and coil it into baskets held together by sewing the coils with the strands of palmetto leaves.
It is said these sweetgrass baskets are durable and will last indefinitely if taken care of. The declines in habitat for sweetgrass are threatened by coastal development and the Historical Society of Charleston has established reserves on nearby Sullivan's Island - recognizing the culture and history of the Gullah communities.
From a sunny sidewalk in Charleston, South Carolina.
Please click here for a larger view.