GAMBIER — Sweetgrass basket maker Antwon Ford will visit Kenyon College for a free, public lesson in the craft on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Ford of Charleston, S.C., is the inheritor of a 300-year-old basket-making tradition among the Gullah people on American soil. The craft, it is believed, was practiced for as long as 3,000 years in West Africa and was brought to this country through the slave trade. The baskets were prominently used on rice plantations in South Carolina. Ford will be joined by his cousin Germain Ford, also a basket maker.
The workshop will take place at the College Bookstore, 106 Gaskin Ave., but the number of participants is limited and reservations must be made in advance through the bookstore by contacting Caroline Steele at email@example.com or by calling 740-427-5305.
Ford describes himself as a full-time sweetgrass basket maker and instructor who also lectures on the Gullah lifestyle. He learned “this rare craft” by watching his grandmother, and he is now determined to keep the basket making from dying out. Gullah is the term used to describe the people, culture, and language of the African American community in the low-country areas of South Carolina.
The workshop is sponsored by the Crossroads Group in African Diaspora Studies, Kenyon Craft Center, Mesaros Art Fund, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Program in American Studies, and the departments of Art, Art History, and History.
Published on March 23, 2011