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?
I love old boxes. In antique shops I can’t resist opening them because I’m always expecting a surprise.Not long ago, I spied a blue painted box on a shelf in a local antique shop. It sat between a basket and syrup bottle, and I carefully lifted it down. Obviously handmade, you could see how it had been nailed carefully together and that small brass hinges held the lid in place.
I opened the box and nestled inside was a well used Agfa box camera. Old and worn, but well-loved, I couldn’t put it back. Its metal front plate wore its scratches proudly.
Knowing that someone loved his camera enough to make a storage box to keep it safe, convinced me to take it home. It made me think about the cameras I value and while I’ve never attempted to build anything for them, I do try to care for them .I have taken a number of falls because I held the camera up high,letting my body take the impact, and I have a number of scars to prove it. The camera from the blue box feels good in the hands, and the box is perfectly proportioned to the camera with no wasted space.
Although, I’m not sure that I’ll be shooting with it (unless I make one of the black tubes to shoot through the lens with my DSLR), it sits near my computer in my studio and reminds me to appreciate its story.I silently promise its former owner that I’ll care for it and keep it safe.
Silver metal oxidizing and colorful is a texture that draws me near. Collecting textures from abandoned or decaying buildings, a hobby like stamps or birdwatching ,enables me to recycle and create. Adding memory by introducing items owned by past tenants introduces story and personality. Making the acquaintance of the buildings’ owners happens rarely although sometimes I’ve been lucky. Today’s image just allows you to imagine their lives and create a history for them.