The early history of basket making is woven into the rise of rice cultivation on Charleston’s plantations. Workers made baskets for use on the plantations for tasks like “fanning” rice. Early baskets were originally made out of bulrush. The War Between the States and Emancipation brought a transformation in basket making with the use of sweetgrass for smaller baskets used within the home. Today, sweetgrass basket making has evolved from an agricultural craft into a functional art form that is a symbol of Charleston’s heritage.