Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bev's Sweetgrass Baskets

This afternoon I stepped out the main entrance of the Charleston Place Hotel and took a short walk over to City Market, a unique shopping area that has been part of Charleston's downtown scene for more than 200 years.

Within minutes I was standing in front of Market Hall, an imposing building that serves as the main entrance to City Market and its four blocks of open-air buildings. Strolling through them all, I found vendors selling high quality products of all kinds. I was taken with the beauty of the clothing, jewelry, pottery and paintings - all created by talented local artists. I was happy to see that the prices were appropriate - not too low, not too high.

One exception, perhaps, was the Lowcountry's famous sweetgrass baskets. Brought to the area 400 years ago by slaves who came from West Africa, basketmaking was a tradition handed down from generation to generation.

Today, the sweetgrass baskets are widely respected and a distinctive art form. They are found in royal residences and art museums, even the Smithsonian Institution.

At City Market, even the smallest of these unique works of art was pricey! I was about to "walk on by" until I saw a vendor sign that read, "Bev's Sweetgrass Baskets."

When I shop, I always look for things that "call out to me" or "have my name on them," and take it as a sign that I should pay the price and bring them home.

As you'd expect, today was no exception!

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