Headin’ Home, by Angela Tiller
“Headin’ Home” portrays a South Carolina Flat Bottom Oyster Sloop – circa early 1900’s – heading across Winyah Bay laden with the day’s catch.
Tiller researched regional wooden boats from 100 years ago. She studied the works of South Carolina artist Gilbert Maggioni, who took bird carving beyond decoys to pieces of art that would sit on a pedestal, and one of Maggioni’s students, Grainger McCoy.
Maggioni had written about and depicted oyster boats used in Lowcountry areas in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Often manned by two African-Americans – one older, one a boy – these flat bottomed oyster boats had sails and were scrabbled together from available materials like leftover wood scraps, tree saplings and flour sacks. They had flat bottoms so they could get into shallow water areas where there were oyster beds. Trailing behind the oyster boat were two small wooden bateaux that, once the oyster boat sailed to a likely harvest spot, the two oystermen boarded and used to get right up on oyster beds. When the little boats were full of oysters, they were dumped into a netted hold on the bigger boat.
Tiller said, ”I wanted to depict the flat bottom oyster sloop because it’s so much a part of South Carolina History. It’s one of the only boats really indigenous to South Carolina. Gilbert Maggioni (Tidecraft: the Boats of South Carolina, Georgia and Northeastern Florida, 1550-1950, c 1995, by William C. Fleetwood, Jr.) had the studies and drawings and writings about it. It really is South Carolina’s boat.”