Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Basket Case

When you receive your May Elle Decor, you may notice a nice mention of fiber artist and Gullah descendant, Mary Jackson, in a story about Charleston. Acclaimed for her sweetgrass baskets, Ms. Jackson is a 2008 MacArthur Fellow.

These baskets with African roots are yet another item on my "love list," and I often enjoy borrowing Mom's low oblong style to use for a mass of Easter eggs. (Although, I think my mother's was made by a different South Carolinian, not Jackson.) Jackson's baskets are represented in the White House Collection of Arts and Crafts, as well as other museum collections, including the Gibbes.

You're probably thinking, "Oh now even more travelers from L.A. and New York are going to become interested in the baskets." But that's okay. These centuries-old pieces are really classic yet available in a diverse range of shapes and sizes. They've stood the test of time. I'm not too worried about over-exposure.

To learn more about Jackson's work, follow the links below:

Craft in America
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Charleston City Paper
The Post & Courier

Images two through four are from the Charleston City Paper video, and image six is from the Craft in America film. Copyright for image five -- cobra with handle by Mary Jackson -- belongs to the Gibbes.

Also of interest, a weaver I mentioned last year, Mae Hall. Her work is shown above.

Lillie Howard makes an eye-catching basket dubbed Elephant Ear.


Nadine @ BDG said...

I think it's great to have handcrafted weaving as a part of our cultural heritage. It has a physicality which transcends most of our American culture.

Karena said...

How intricate and very intersting to have as an heirloom.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

When you stop to think about it...the artistry and craftmanship is utterly amazing!


teaorwine said...

These baskets are so lovely. I love the patterns which emerge. If a basket is not for you, choose a single "flower" crafted from the fibers as well.

Meredith said...

How fun to see these featured here! I recently found your blog via Miss Gracious Hospitality, and I love your mix of art, design, and culture.

I posted about my own sweetgrass collection just a couple of days ago.

Style Court said...

Oh thank you Meredith. I'll pop over and see your collection!

Kelly Robson said...

That top basket is GORGEOUS. I'm jealous.

The Peak of Chic said...

I've always wanted a sweetgrass basket. I especially want one now after seeing yours!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Courtney - I've been to the markets in Charleston and it is a great place to visit. I need a whole sweeping visit of the South - New Orleans, Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston. I'm missing it.

Style Court said...

I'm so glad everyone is enthused about the baskets. These crafts-people are so talented. Thanks for the sweet words.

ememli said...

Courtney, I just saw an article on Charleston in the May Elle Decor. You beat em to the punch. It was a nice article and highlights the unique baskets. Love your blog!

Style Court said...

Hi Ememli -- thanks :)

I was so excited to see Mary Jackson mentioned in another national design/shelter mag, that's what prompted me to follow-up with this post. The picture in Elle Decor is really nice. The Charleston-related posts from late March thru early April were coincidental :) I do live not too far way.

Thanks for stopping by.