Charleston basket weavingI began my journey driving from the Piedmont SC down to Charleston. I sometimes take this route to Myrtle Beach for for my stock photo assignments.

Both towns are my favorites because of so many photo opportunities.

So, I parked on a side street and wandered aimlessly around; looking for that “perfect stock photo.”

And, I believe I found it when I spotted a local woman weaving Palmetto fronds into baskets.

Now, it’s not unusual to spot Charleston basket weavers in the city. In fact, I saw several that day. These craftsmen were lined up on the sidewalk, each displaying their wares, and their talent.

But, this one woman caught my attention. To me, she had the “classic” Charleston weaver look. She’s the person you’d most likely see in the travel brochures.

You know with the hat and local look you can’t get from SC travel models. So, I couldn’t resist bringing my camera to my eye. And, I’m sure happy I did!

Charleston Basket Weaving – Bring Home the Perfect Souvenir

First, if you look for Charleston SC iconic pictures, you’ll see:

Now, you definitely have to leave the first two items in the city when you leave. But, you can purchase a frond basket for a souvenir. These baskets give you a decorative and lasting memory of Charleston on those dark cold nights back at home.

The local people explained to us how basket weaving was a tradition. And, of course, told how these unique baskets made the perfect souvenir for any vacation.

Many people use this handmade straw item as a complement to their storied home decor.

Sweetgrass Basket Weaving – A Unique South Carolina Craft

One thing that makes these baskets a coveted item is that each one is handcrafted and unique.

Yes, they use the same materials, but the artists add their own special touches.

The sweetgrass used for the baskets is actually indigenous bulrush. It grows well in that sandy soil.

And, the baskets pop up in other coastal South Carolina areas as well.

You’ll find them all along the SC Grand Strand area, including:

  • Myrtle Beach
  • Garden City
  • Murrels Inlet
  • Surfside and other towns.

The “Basket” Road

A week later, I was back shooting travel photos in Charleston. I visited the markets while vendors displayed their wares.

But, when I made the same drive to Myrtle Beach, I noticed small stands along the sides of US 17.

What were they selling? You guessed it – frond baskets. So, the basket weavers now sit & weave their baskets in lean-to shacks – not unlike the many vegetable stands along the highway.

Personally, I think it’s fantastic that these locals have found an opportunity to show their talent. As a photographer, I love shooting images of interesting SC locations. I can’t imagine no one seeing them.

Visit the City of Charleston – But, Notice the Local Flavor Too!

These baskets have a rich history, dating back to colonial times and rice plantations. When you visit the low country area, take notice of local crafts like these.

Another feature of the frond baskets is the nice smell. The home decor possibilities remain the big factor for tourists who purchase these keepsakes.

Yes, Charleston SC basket weavers take pride in their work. And, they want you to go back home with a piece of Charleston that relays the message & iconic symbol of this historic city.

When you see them, you’ll want to pick up more than one. I believe you will fall in love with the artistry – I did!

Charleston Images For Fine Art Enthusiasts

By the way, if you love South Carolina as I do, be sure and check out some of my South Carolina stock images over at Alamy.

Click here to go there now…

Thank you for visiting. If you enjoyed my story about Charleston basket weaving please comment and pass this along to a friend.

I hope to see you again soon! – Bob

Filed under: Travel