Gullah Fanner Basket

Media - 2011.47.76 - SAAM-2011.47.76_2 - 88849
Copied Lynette Youson, Gullah Fanner Basket, 2002, sweetgrass, bulrush, pine needles, and palmetto fronds, 3 1224 18 in. diam. (8.961.3 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Martha G. Ware and Steven R. Cole, 2011.47.76

Artwork Details

Gullah Fanner Basket
Not on view
3 1224 18 in. diam. (8.961.3 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Martha G. Ware and Steven R. Cole
Mediums Description
sweetgrass, bulrush, pine needles, and palmetto fronds
Object Number

Artwork Description

Much of the elegance of this basket is derived from its utilitarian form. The fanner basket is among the most traditional and earliest coiled baskets made by African Americans and was used to separate rice grains from husks. Lynette Youson began to sew scraps of grass at her great-grandmother's side when she was only five, and continues this family tradition today.

Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery, 2019

Related Books

A Measure of the Earth
A Measure of the Earth provides an window into the traditional basketry revival of the past fifty years. Nicholas Bell’s essay details the longstanding use of traditional fibers, such as black ash, white oak, willow, and sweetgrass and the perseverance of a select few to harvest these elements—the land itself—for the enrichment of daily life. Drawing on conversations with basketmakers from across the country and reproducing many of their documentary photographs, Bell offers an intimate glimpse of their lifeways, motivations, and hopes. Lavish illustrations of every basket in the exhibition convey the humble, tactile beauty of these functional vessels.


Media - 2016.11 - SAAM-2016.11_6 - 124929
Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery
November 13, 2015March 6, 2022
Connections is the Renwick Gallery’s dynamic ongoing permanent collection presentation, featuring more than 80 objects celebrating craft as a discipline and an approach to living differently in the modern world.