Sweetgrass Baskets and Dry Accessories - Stone Mountain, GA
by Michael and Jovelyn Ellis
(Stone Mountain, GA)
Hand Made Sweetgrass Baskets
Generations: A Family Tradition for four Generations. Michael Ellis was born in 1961 and in a resident of Charleston, SC. After living in Atlanta, Georgia, for over 25 years now, he and his wife Jovelyn started their own business weaving and selling sweetgrass baskets from their home. He and his wife go to some of the many well known arts and craft shows in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area. Michael was taught how to make baskets from his Grandmother and mother at the age of seven. Jovelyn is another story! She was born in the Philippines. We have only been married for five years now. She learned how to weave sweetgrass baskets from my mother and what's unique about her baskets is she has her own distinct designs, just as I do. Basket making has only been passed down from mothers to daughters in the family, but never to outsiders in the past. But now it is taught to extended family members. Going out to collect and harvest the raw materials for his mother as he was growing up, then moving to Atlanta, GA., to go to technical school. Although he was always still with his heritage Michael never abandoned the art, even after moving there. I just kind of put it on hold but not completely. I didn't weave any baskets at the time. But he would go out and collect the raw material for his mother every chance he got during school breaks. Michael's ancestors, who were slaves from West Africa, brought this traditional art form which has been passed down from generations to generation in his family. Now I have my own family, now fourth generation. I now can see that at least one of my little ones, little Michael Junior, taking interest in the art already; he is only 22 months old. And I can say even if he does not stick with it at least he will know how to carry it on. There is an old saying in Charleston! Come a day, their will sew!''their will'',time will come''their will sew'' hey look at us.