Jery works on her latest basket, pausing to speak with customers who wander into her studio, the walls of which are covered equally with her baskets and her brightly colored paintings of scenes from her childhood on Boone Hall Plantation, like crabbing and baptisms. She waxes poetic about her passion for basket weaving, sharing her encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the nearby Sea Islands. As she talks about baskets, you get the sense she is talking about life: “This is something that, no matter how much you would like it to be done fast, it’s not going to happen that way for you. You are going to have to take your time, make it right, and you won’t have a problem after that. But if you try to rush it, believe me, you will run into some problems. This is something that can’t be rushed, you got to take your time and do it right. This is something that is supposed to last forever, and if you make it that way, it will. I feel it was my grandmother’s philosophy, and it’s mine.”
Jery’s patience is evidenced in the beauty and grace of her baskets and her being. She has put countless hours into honing her craft, and winnowing her basket weaving practice into wisdom. “When it comes to life,” she says, “you could have a good life, you could have a bad life, but the choice is yours. And that’s with everything. There are some things gonna take time to do, and there are things that you wanna do fast—it’s just not gonna work.”
If, on your next visit to Savannah, you can make time to spend a few minutes with Jery in her City Market studio, we guarantee you will leave with similar pearls of wisdom and a new perspective to apply to your own passions. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll leave with a basket, too.