Kenyon College



Basket. 1989.
Sweet Grass, Palmetto, Pine Straw, and Bullrush.
39.7 cm (h) x 42.1 cm (l) x 24.5 cm (w).
Courtesy of The Charleston Museum.


Henrietta Snype’s sweetgrass basket synthesizes traditional weaving methods with more contemporary elements of basket design, tracing the evolution of the sweetgrass medium. Split handles reflect a recent trend, while tight, intricate coils place Snype within a long tradition of skilled weavers. Snype’s methods have been cultivated by generations of her family members, and passed down to her. “Every mother would teach her daughters —like my grandmother taught my mother, my mother taught me, and now my daughter and granddaughter know how to do it,” she explains. “None of these baskets reflects one person; it reflects an entire community.” Snype emphasizes the importance of sharing her methods with young people, in order to preserve the Gullah culture. “It’s just like learning to play an instrument,” she says. “It’s part of us. It’s our culture, our heritage.”

Dulce Montoya ‘14