Imported sweetgrass baskets being pulled from catalog
The seller of an imitation Charleston sweetgrass basket from the Philippines that riled local weavers has pulled the item from its catalog.
Southern Living and home decor seller Ballard Designs said Thursday the item will no longer be for sale through Ballard’s catalog or website.
The move was done in deference to the artistic talent and cultural importance of local weavers.
“Southern Living and Ballard Designs understand that creating sweetgrass baskets is an art form and it was never our intention to recreate or replace what the artisans are doing,” the entities said in a statement released Thursday.
“Out of respect for the artisans and their time-honored tradition, we will no longer produce these baskets. The product is no longer available on the website or in catalogs effective immediately.”
The decision came after The Post and Courier reported last month that local weavers saw unfair competition from “knockoffs” of their 300-year-old craft.
The Ballard product, which was advertised as rattan, sold for $25. Similar sized but locally produced woven baskets can cost several hundred dollars.
Lynette Youson, co-chair of the Sweetgrass Cultural Art Festival Association, said Thursday that after the Post and Courier story ran, locals and tourists, some from as far away as Atlanta, told her they were considering ending their subscriptions to Southern Living over the introduction of the copies.
“It’s great news,” she said of Thursday’s decision.
The baskets had been advertised in Ballard’s spring catalog, which ran 12 million printed copies.
“In keeping with our editorial mission, Southern Living is committed to local artisans and their business, and we look forward to continuing to feature their work in the future,” the statement also said.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551, or followed on Twitter at skropf47.