I am visiting Hilton Head, SC. which is considered the Low Country of the state. Marshes, tiny islands and inland waterways link this land which is barely above sea level. This is an area that was almost entirely inhabited by Africans who were selected and brought here as slaves for their ability to grow rice over 3 centuries ago. As time went on, their community was nearly destroyed by the growth of tourism and encroachment in this area where they had lived for so long, but recently laws were passed to preserve what little of their culture that has still remained. Because of the islands isolation long before the bridges to the mainland were built, the people here lived off the land and sea, speaking their own language, and they preserved much of their African heritage of artistic basket weaving and producing artwork that is very sought after and collected today. While shopping for interesting items in island thrift shops, a hobby that I enjoy while traveling, I came across two interesting items that could have been made by this culture long ago. One if the items I found is a hand made doll. She is completely woven of the pine straw that is growing everywhere on the island. Her hat is intricate and beautiful. She has long straight hair and her hands have five fingers. Her long dress covers legs with round feet. A scarf hangs around her neck, to protect from the sun, and she carries a bouquet of sea grass. Her bright colors are now faded unless you look under her skirt where you will see the bright red, purple and natural shades she was meant to wear.
Another interesting object that I also found while scoping out the dusty dark shelves of forgotten items, was a strange sculpture made from a red clay that has been fired in a primitive way so that it is burned and blackened in some areas. This unusual figure stands firmly on oversize feet. Its nose is like a dogs, eyes of a chameleon, and it has breasts and pierced ears. It is completely covered with marks like tattoos. I wonder about both of the figures I found that had been cast away. They are truly one of a kind, forgotten by time and left to be found by me. I sometimes feel my artwork is the same, too soon to be forgotten, but where will my work be 100’s of years from now? Who will look at it and try to reveal that which was my unique vision? Time will not allow me to look into the future. I will be gone, as those who made these items now are. I walk into the past trying to hear the echos of the voices that creatively made these unique interesting items, to remind myself that time changes everything.
Another journey is planned for creative adventurers to join me to France this coming summer. If you would like to join us please go to www.adventure-artists.com and send for a brochure to be sent to you.