For Vera Mae Manigault, the practice of basket weaving goes back eight generations. It's a testament to the history of Gullah weaving, as seen in South Carolina, which manifests itself in stunning designs.
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Etsy is highlighting this work through new items made by Gullah basket weavers; the collection currently features the work of 16 creators. You can find everything from coasters to napkin holders and, of course, baskets.
In partnership with the nonprofit organization Nest, as well as Bloomberg Philanthropies, Etsy is listing the items for purchase — with 100% of the profits going to the makers. The designs are "made entirely with locally harvested sweetgrass, pine needles, bulrush, and palmetto," according to Etsy. In addition, the company made a "$75,000 investment into the Gullah community, which will be used to provide business services for the weavers."
"Every basket I make is a labor of love, and there is so much history that comes with each one," Manigault tells Etsy.
Ruth Johnson explains that her love of weaving comes from accompanying her mother and grandmother to a local stand to sell items.
"I like to work outside with my siblings to compare ideas and talk," Johnson tells Etsy. "I want to keep the history alive, keep the culture going."
The initiative follows Etsy's announcement earlier this year of Gee's Bend quilts being available on the site. There will be nine designs added to that current selection.
Gullah baskets, as Etsy explains, have actually been featured in museums such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Browse through the full collection here.