Baskets by Ida Pearl Davis. Photo by Robert Cogswell.

Baskets by Ida Pearl Davis. Photo by Robert Cogswell.

Tennessee and baskets seem to go together, but their relationship probably is not at all what you think. In this episode, I talk with folklorist Roby Cogswell, the director of Folklife at the Tennessee Arts Commission, about his research of the basket making tradition in Cannon County, TN.  This amazing craft has long been one of Tennessee’s best-kept secrets. We talk about his use of both fieldwork and genealogical methods to uncover the untold story of this long-standing white oak tradition. Roby recently published an article about Cannon County Baskets in the Tennessee Folklore Society’s journal, but nothing can compare to listening to him talk about his research.  However, as Roby would say, “don’t ask him the time, if you don’t want a history of watch making.” So, this episode is a little longer than usual, but I think is exactly the content that Artisan Ancestors listeners are looking for.

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