If you've ever been to the Hammock Shops Village in Pawleys Island, then you have either seen, or heard about, a man named Marvin Grant. Or, perhaps you've heard the nickname "The Hammock Man." Marvin Grant is the one-and-only expert hammock weaver in Pawleys Island, and has been making Pawleys Island Rope Hammocks for over 23 years. We stopped by the Hammock Shops Village to meet up with Marvin and see him in action.
How long have you been making hammocks?
Marvin: I've been doing this for 22 years--close to 23 years.
Now, what makes a Pawleys Island hammock so special?
Marvin: We have three-strand rope. The rope is a three-strand; it's heavy rope. We use two different types. We use one that's a water resistant type, and we use natural cotton. The natural cotton is the one you have to bring in and out of the weather.
How long did it take you to learn how to make these types of hammocks?
Marvin: I started off--they had a job program--and they'd let a person work for 4 to 6 weeks. If you could hang until the 6th week, you made it. A lot of people couldn't hang because they couldn't stand that long period of time in a certain spot doing this throughout the day.
How many hammocks would you say you can make per day?
Marvin: Well, in this building, working with the public, if I didn't have to deal with the public and don't talk at all and just stand here and work, I'd probably get 5-6 hammocks done. But if I have to stop and talk to the public I won't get that many done. I'd say 3-4 hammocks per day.
What's your favorite part about making hammocks?
Marvin: I call it a stress-free job. Because if you have anything bothering you, you come in here and stand here and do this---you forget about everything. That's what makes the day go by quicker. It makes a difference. Because you're doing things, you're moving all day with your hands, move your feet, chit-chat, talk. This right here, you do it so often that lately I don't have to look at what I'm doing; I just do it by the feel. But you've gotta have patience. If you have patience, you can do this. If you don't have patience, you won't be making no hammocks.
Can you tell me a little bit about the history behind the Pawleys Island hammock?
Marvin: I don't know too much of the history. I had other people ahead of me making hammocks, and they told me that Pawleys Island was the first of making hammocks in the area. They were doing this since the late 30's. Around the Depression time they got popular, because you could lay between two trees without laying on the ground. I'd rather have a hammock.
Pawleys Island is known to be a laid-back, leisurely area. Would you say that a hammock is a great symbol for the way of life in Pawleys Island?
Marvin: Yes, I would definitely say that. Because, we don't have bad weather, we have good weather. I would say, there's 12 months in a year, South Carolina and this area, we have 9-10 good months. Pawleys Island is a nice laid-back area. There's no big buildings, you can smell the fresh air off the ocean, the trees. It's a different lifestyle.
What do you like most about Pawleys Island?
Marvin: What do I like most about Pawleys Island? It's laid back. Nice community, quiet. No drama. Everybody seems to get along with eachother. There's no big buildings so we don't draw a crowd. It's laid back. We've got beaches you can go to. Lay out on the beach and enjoy the day. The seafood is great — you can't beat it. It's not over crowded. That's the main thing; not over crowded. I like Pawleys.
Would you say that you're one of the only place in the area that still makes handmade hammocks?
Marvin: Yes, legally, yes. Legal-wise, this building is it in South Carolina. I'm the only original Pawleys Island — the other guy left that does it. Everyone else is retired or has found another job some place else. Now why I'm here so long? Because of the Original Hammock Shop. What y'all people call a hammock, I call a lazy bed. Get in it, and your dinner is late.
Marvin Grant is loved by locals and visitors alike, and is quick to show eager learners the art of hammock weaving. Next time you're in Pawleys Island, be sure to stop by and say hello to the Hammock Man.