There is a small stretch of Highway 17 not far from my house called the ‘Sweetgrass Corridor’, where dozens of sweetgrass stands line both sides of the road, with artisans sitting on metal folding chairs, weaving a new creation that is an art form more than 300 years old.

I am lucky enough to own a few of these prized baskets, which I proudly display in my office. They are investments, just like buying an original painting and sculpture. This particular form of basket making is an African American tradition that has been taught by mother to daughter to grandchild in South Carolina for generations. The baskets are made from the indigenous plant sweetgrass, which is disappearing from the coastal landscape because of growing development. Several years ago, I even wrote the novel Sweetgrass based on this historical art form.

So when I stumbled across local jewelry inspired by sweetgrass basketry, I was delighted to tell others about the gorgeous creations made by Sweet Charleston Designs. And thanks to their generosity, my readers get a chance to WIN a beautiful piece from one of their giveaway is happening right now on my Facebook page. One random winner will be chosen Monday to receive this beautiful Bulls Bay Penta Necklace by Sweet Charleston Designs featuring five custom cast sterling silver medallions. Retail price: $650.00. CLICK HERE to enter giveaway.
This necklace is a holiday season favorite since debuting at the newly opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. I love how Sweet Charleston Designs describes the necklace:

The necklace represents a collection of sweet grass basket beginnings, linked together with a sweet grass textured chain and will grace any wardrobe for generations to come.  Sweet Charleston Designs selects patterns from traditional rice winnowing baskets found in the Lowcountry from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and captures the spirit of the oldest designated African American art with origins dating back to the late 1600’s.”

A huge THANK YOU to Sweet Charleston Designs for their generous prize. Together we will make someone’s holiday extra special with this treasure that can be enjoyed for generations to come! Click here to learn more about how Charleston’s sweetgrass basketry history and Lowcountry landscape inspire their unique jewelry collections.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend y’all! I am grateful for all of my friends and readers.



  1. Deborah Craig on November 25, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you Mary Alice for all of your wonderful books! I started with Sweetgrass and have been a huge fan since. Thank you also for helping bring awareness and trying to save our critters, in the water and out. Through your books you have taught me so much. Thank you again and Happy Holidays!

  2. Jean Hiller on November 25, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Thank! Remembering the sweet smell of sweetgrass!

  3. Leslie Ann Hummel on November 25, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    A wonderful day with family and pets, playing games, taking walks, delicious food and fabulous fellowship !!!! The traditions continue as we are counting our blessings !!!!

    • Mary Alice Monroe on November 29, 2016 at 7:20 am

      Absolutely. That’s living in the moment! Happy Holidays!

  4. Beth Boeck on November 29, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    I treasure my little sweet grass basket. When I visited Charlston in 2014, we visited the Market and I met one of the weavers and spent some time watching her weave as she told me what she was doing. I couldn’t leave without buying something from her so I picked a modest little basket that was just big enough to hold a few keepsakes from our visit.

    • Mary Alice Monroe on December 1, 2016 at 8:56 am

      A treasure for you! And a wonderful way to support our sweetgrass basketweavers.

  5. Carol on December 1, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Mary Alice a very merry Christmas to you and your family. A thank you for all the wonderful books you wrote on the Lowcounty. I visit my daughter a few weeks ago at Mt. Pleasant. I will always remember sweet grass baskets on rt. 17.

    • Mary Alice Monroe on December 2, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Thank you, Carol! I wish you a wonderful Christmas season too.

  6. Diane on December 29, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Sweetgrass was the first novel I read written by you. I look forward to reading each new title as they are on bookshelves! I’ve read them all. Not only do I escape from everyday life, I also learn about dolphins, sweetgrass, bird, etc.
    Christmas is over but I am now reading your last release. I was pleased to see a familiar character, Taylor. I’ll be eagerly watching for your next novel!
    Have a blessed New Year,
    Diane Martin

    • Mary Alice Monroe on January 6, 2017 at 8:24 am

      Thank you, Diane. I’m glad my books captivate and teach. I wish you a Happy New Year also.

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