Milton Gross

White Oak Basketmaker, Sardis

Milton Gross of Sardis comes from a family known for its basket making, though he is the last active craftsman among his relatives. Born in 1931, he learned the craft from his grandfather and uncles. His baskets are made of split white oak and come in several sizes, from small ones measuring twelve inches across with a handle to large cotton baskets two feet or more wide and at least three feet tall. Gross’ baskets are stout and sturdy, containing no metal pins of any kind; they appear to be ready for hard usage. The baskets he showed me during my visit were some of the best examples of traditional crafting I have ever come across. He cuts his trees on a friend’s place when he needs them and says he prefers white oak from thick stands on a hillside. According to Gross, there is always a market for his baskets. He sells most of them to cotton gin owners who give them as gifts to the farmers who do business with them. A few find their way to gift shops and to individuals like me who finally find his house.

In July 2013, Gross was awarded a Folk Art Apprenticeship grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. He worked with Robert Cox from Como, teaching him basketmaking,

Wiley Prewitt

Scroll to Top