large shallow round woven circular basket; alternating woven bands of grass in light and darker shades of tan; circular pattern in center

Fanner basket, 2017

Henrietta Snype

Sweetgrass, palmetto, pine needles, and bulrush

Living Rooms fund, supported by donors at the 2014 Mia Gala RB2018.1

On View in Gallery 281

Wide, shallow fanner baskets were used to process locally grown rice by separating the grain from the chaff. It is a basket form brought from Africa to the Carolinas, together with the knowledge of rice growing, in the 1700s. Though today they are mostly decorative, they continue to reflect human-land relationships. According to Snype: “I used a thick grass called bulrush for the main part with pine needles in the middle and three inches of sweetgrass. The binding that holds the grass together is from the South Carolina state tree, called palmetto. Bulrush is found in the swamp and we use a machete to cut it. A lot of the materials are from the coastal area, but with development it’s becoming harder and harder to find some of these grasses.”

Image: In Copyright. Living Rooms fund, supported by donors at the 2014 Mia Gala

Unexpected Turns: Women Artists and the Making of American Basket Weaving Traditions

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