I’m really not a ghoul, but I do have a strong fascination for old cemeteries. Whenever we travel, I’m on the lookout for old burial grounds. I can’t resist the stories and always find unusual carvings or monuments. Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina is an especially interesting one. The setting features a lake, huge trees laced in Spanish moss, and abundant wildlife. Birds and small animals wander freely. Many Civil War soldiers, as well as the crew of the Hunley submarine, keep company with the city’s founding families . The delicate ironwork fences and ornate gates made me think about using their designs in a quilt. (But that’s another post.) The pyramid captured my imagination and with the shadowing palm trees, I could almost believe I’d been transported to Egypt.
The Gullah women of South Carolina have perfected the art of sweetgrass basket-making, a traditional craft first developed in Africa. The tradition thrives today in the hands of women who weave these baskets using the same methods and materials. Along a highway appropriately named Sweetgrass Highway, their baskets are for sale along with their stories. I bought a middle – sized one with an edge called elephant ears or roller coaster. It has bands of pine needles to add colors, is signed by the artist and smells wonderful.These baskets on display in the afternoon sun made me think about how much I miss it when I’m not making things and how wonderful it would be to pass on this kind of tradition. Note to self -get busy!
A jar of found pieces in the window caught my eye. I loved that the shop owners cared enough about the remains under their corner of Charleston to display them. It’s these fragments of those who passed before us, and even from our earlier life that makes us who we are. As a magpie, I’m always collecting little pieces that catch my eye. Shells, rocks,charms, wrappers, letters, metal, all find their way into my hands and collections. I think this year is a good time to gather them together and display them to honor those fragments of memory. Using an old glass jar would be a great beginning and I certainly have many of those. I know there are shard lamps, plaques, and vases, but I think they’d be happier without glue or cement holding them static.Any suggestions?