Going on Faith

Spring 2017

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

Issue link: http://digital.goingonfaith.com/i/798762

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Page 32 of 39

going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] 33 SWEETGRASS BASKETS CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA As visitors wander through Charleston's bustling City Market, they will inevitably stumble across the city's most distinctive product: handwoven sweetgrass baskets. "Sweetgrass baskets are the oldest living African art form in America," said Darryl Stoneworth, who manages DNA Sweetgrass Baskets with his wife, Angela. In West Africa, the sturdy baskets were used to carry rice. Many people were captured from this region and forced into slavery because of their expertise in rice production. When these slaves eventually arrived in South Carolina, they found bulrush and sweetgrass to continue making the baskets, which were such a quality work tool that they became standard at all the plantations. "What makes it special for me is that this is something that was passed down from generation to generation," said Angela, who was taught the craft by her grand- mother at the age of 5. "I believe if we keep teaching our children, it keeps our ancestors alive." She recalls trekking into the wooded area behind her grandmother's home to collect the grass, though modern development has wiped out most wild sweetgrass that once thrived in the region. Once a year, Darryl pays a visit to a property where the grass still grows and often spends an entire day filling two bags. After the grass dries out, it can take a whole afternoon to weave small to medium-size baskets; more elaborate pieces can take several months. "What started as a simple work tool has been transformed into an art form," said Darryl. "People are often surprised by the artistry and weight of each basket. They can last 100 years." www.dnasweetgrassbaskets.com Photos courtesy DNA Sweetgrass Baskets DNA Sweetgrass Baskets are signature souvenirs from Charleston. WHERE SOUL LIVES. Come see all of the history and beauty that makes our meetings so incredibly inspirational. Contact Kristen Grissom today to book your next conference at 800.768.3401. 800.768.3401 | VisitMacon.org St. Joseph Cathedral

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