Row Upon Row

The persistence of the coiled sea grass basket tradition over a span of three centuries is a tribute to the African American basketmakers who value their craft as an important part of their cultural heritage and as a means of self-expression. The tradition faces many challenges from increasing modernization in the Lowcountry. As better economic opportunities arise, daughters undoubtedly will turn away from the craft of their mothers and grandmothers to pursue more profitable work. But, according to one basketmaker reflecting on whether her children will continue the tradition, “It may be hard for them to see it, but days will come when they will sew baskets… This basket here is strictly just in the Lowcountry, and if the generation don’t take it up when we gone, it’s going to die away. But, they will sew baskets. They will, time will come, they will sew.”

This catalogue was made in response to the exhibition, Row Upon Row: Sea Grass Baskets of the South Carolina Lowcountry, which opened in 1986 at the McKissick Museum before traveling for many years.


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