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Simply Stylish Baskets Handwoven in Ghana

While catching up on the latest international tradeshows I came across some simple elegant baskets by Twenty One Tonnes an online retailer that seeks to celebrate the beauty of global craft by working with artisans around the world to create beautifully-crafted home decor collections and. The baskets are beautiful and sophisticated in their simplicity, using size, the colour of the material, and the woven patterns to give them character.

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Mutapo Ceramics Inspired by Zimbabwe’s Basket Weaving Traditions

Tucked away in Harare’s Miombo Woodland you will find Mutapo, a ceramic studio producing one-of-a-kind collectable crockery. Owned by Zimbabwean ceramicist, Marjorie Wallace, Mutapo has gained international recognition for its intricately decorated porcelain ceramics often coloured with the studio’s signature blue and white glaze. The patterns adorning each product are inspired by the patterns found in Africa’s basket weaving traditions. Marjorie’s love for baskets stems from childhood and her memories of being surrounded by baskets.

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Africa’s Basket Weavers Telling Stories Through Basketry

Basketry is a skill that has been practiced up and down the continent for centuries with examples from the past coveted by collectors around the world. Today Africa’s basket weavers are redefining the art form employing ingenious methods to create modern functional home decor products. But whilst these baskets may appear to be merely functional or decorative products, taking the time to look beyond the aesthetics reveals the layers of stories woven into the strands; as basketry -a skill traditionally practiced by women- carries within it the stories of livelihoods, of hopes, dreams, achievements, and sacrifices. Highlighting just how powerfully […]

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The Baba Tree Basket Company

Bolgatanga in Ghana’s Upper East Region is synonymous with basket weaving, and the distinctive round-bellied Bolga Market basket with its sturdy handles. Building on the region’s basket weaving heritage local business The Baba Tree Basket Company is producing some stunning gravity-defying basket designs, woven from locally sourced natural materials and dyed in vibrant colours.

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AAKS x UNHCR Weaving For Change

Luxury artisanal accessory brand AAKS has launched a stunning home decor collection inspired by the theme Weaving for Change. The collection comprises five distinctive handcrafted lamps and light pendants, each created in partnership with women artisans from the Tuareg community in Northern Mali who are living as refugees in Burkina Faso. In working with this Tuareg community AAKS are helping to celebrate and preserve the community’s cultural identity and their time-honoured basket weaving traditions, a philosophy that has defined AAKS’s work with local communities in Ghana.

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Decor: Safari Fusion’s Woven & Stitched 2015-16 Collection

Safari Fusion [Africa Inspired] Loving Safari Fusion’s beautifully styled 2015-16 Lookbook entitled, Woven & Stitched. The colourful, unique and functional collection presents the best in contemporary basketry made in Africa. Woven & Stitched is inspired by Africa’s basket weavers and has brought together a range of grass and fibre baskets that showcase the way classical techniques and ancient traditions have been rejuvenated through the use of modern colour palettes and forms.

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Basketry: Gone Rural’s One of a Kind Hand Painted Baskets at Maud Interiors

Gone Rural Hand Painted Baskets at Maud Interiors [Eswatini / Swaziland] [Image credit: Gone Rural Hand Painted Baskets – Maud Interiors] Just spotted on Maud Interiors, via Pinterest these one-of-a-kind handwoven baskets from Gone Rural sporting colourful hand-painted splashes of paint in a stylistic nod to abstract expressionism. I have previously featured the work of Swazi-based social enterprise, Gone Rural on the site, and the organisation continues to shake up the industry with their innovative approach to contemporary African basketry. Purchases  of the baskets will go towards helping support Gone Rural Bomake (meaning women) a not for profit organization which […]

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Decor: Peaks and Blocks Baskets by Donna Wilson and People of the Sun for SCP

Donna Wilson and People of the Sun for SCP [Image credit: Blocks and Peaks Basket Collection – Donna Wilson and People of the Sun for SCP] These gorgeously colourful and practical baskets are the result of a cross-cultural collaboration between the Malawian-based creative social enterprise, People of the Sun, and British designer Donna Wilson. The collection entitled ‘Blocks and Peaks’ was created exclusively for SCP, a leading UK manufacturer and retailer of modern innovative furniture.

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Decor: Modern Basketry from Zimbabwe

Lupane Women’s Centre [Zimbabwe] [Image credit: Baskets – Lupane Women’s Centre in Partnership with Kingston Project Africa] Looking like they have been swirled with delicate watercolours, this gorgeous range of traditionally handcrafted baskets is the result of a partnership between the Lupane Women’s Centre in Zimbabwe and the Kingston University Design School in the UK, bringing a contemporary edge to traditional African design. The initiative entitled, Kingston Project Africa was created to facilitate the exchange and support of knowledge between both regions, and led by Professor Catherine McDermott utilises the expertise of academics, industry practitioners and curators across various projects and collaborations. 

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Design: Mbare Points Du Jour Basket Reader Offer

cc Mbare [Africa Inspired] [Image credits: Tavie Co-operative, Points Du Jour Basket – Mbare] A few months ago I featured a beautifully woven palm dish handcrafted by the Tavie Co-operative in Niger, click here to read. Currently retailing on Mbare, the full range of dishes incorporate unique details such as silver Touareg discs placed in the centre; as seen in the Coucher De Soleil and Rayon De Soleil styles; whilst other designs feature indigo thread in intense hues, creating a striking contrast against the natural colour of the leaves. One of the dishes that incorporates the indigo thread is the stylish Points Du Jour, […]

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Basketry: Madwa Woven Traditions

Madwa [Madagascar / South Africa / Eswatini / Swaziland] [Image credits: Madwa] Inspired by craft and tradition, Madwa is an ethical craft project that works with small groups of master weavers in Madagascar and Swaziland to produce contemporary ranges of woven textiles, homeware, and accessories. Based in South Africa, Madwa harnesses the unique weaving skills of the different cultural groups and regions it works with, and is about the preservation of a unique craft heritage, assisting the weavers with product development and gaining access to international markets. 

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Design: Tavie Co-operative Tuareg Baskets

Tavie Co-operative [Niger]   The beauty of this woven dish radiates from its core, which features a beautifully engraved silver disc at the centre, which is said to symbolise the sun and is characteristic of Tuareg pattens. Framed with an indigo halo, the addition of the disc adds a contemporary edge, elevating the humble woven basket to a stunning decorative object, that would work well hung on the wall or placed on a plate stand.

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Lifestyle: Handwoven Bolgatanga Baskets

Bolgatanga Baskets [Ghana]    Last week the EU announced the potential banning of plastic bags as it outlined proposals to reduce the number of plastic bags used in Europe each year after a public consultation revealed that more than four billion were thrown away each year. After massive campaign a few years ago lately I have noticed fewer people using the jute and other alternative shopping bags whilst doing their shopping, myself included and so was not surprised to find out that after four years of decline the use of carrier bags in the UK actually rose by 5% in […]

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Design: Stephen Burks Man Made Contemporary Basketry Exhibition

Stephen Burks [Africa Inspired]   Having grown up surrounded by basketry and woven grass products I do feel a deep connection to the tradition; marveling at the patterns and the way the long grass stalks can be transformed into beautiful functional products. So immediately fell in love with the woven light fittings from New York-based industrial designer Stephen Burks. So stunning, so contemporary; I just love the colours and the ingenious designs that celebrate the basket weaving traditions seen across the continent and show that far from being confined to the past, basketry is continuing to evolve into a contemporary art form. Produced […]

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Design: Gone Rural Redefining African Basketry

Gone Rural [Swaziland] Picking up from where I left off on my exploration into the different types of basketry found across the continent; I find myself quite taken by these glass bowls edged with a swathe of woven basketry. Created by Swaziland-based, Gone Rural I came across them on the US-based Amaridian Gallery, and they give a fresh updated look to the traditional woven basket. The way the basket weaving techniques have been combined with recycled glass has produced some beautiful, unique looking bowls. [image credit: Gone Rural – Amaridian Gallery] A socially responsible business set up by the late Jenny Thorne in […]

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Design: Innovative Basket Furniture

The Jeddah Seat [Africa Inspired]     [Image source: Elle Decoration – South Africa] Take a giant, oversized woven basket and tip it on its side, add some sturdy wooden legs and voilà you have a chair, the Jeddah Seat to be precise. I appreciate its not that simple but the resulting effect is an ingenious approach to the humble, yet stylish woven basket giving it a contemporary look in the process. Woven from rush, the Jeddah chair by Italian designer Angelo Figus is a beautiful example of handwoven craftsmanship and attention to detail. The chair formed part of a 2009 exhibition, called […]

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Design: Gahaya Links Baskets Celebrating Peace

Gahaya Links [Rwanda] [Image credits: top, Fairwinds Trading; bottom, Gahaya Links] Following on from my previous posting about the Zimbabwean Basket Weavers, I have become increasingly fascinated by the defining characteristics and regional differences in patterns, forms and traditional uses and thought it would be nice to dedicate a separate posting for each of the various country styles I come across. In Rwanda the traditional art of basketry has been used as a vehicle to build hope, bringing together communities once divided by the Genocide of 1994. Recognising the potential towards fostering healing, Rwandan sisters, Joy Ndungutse and Janet Nkubana founded Gahaya Links, a […]

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Design: ‘Basket Case’ A showcase of Contemporary Zimbabwean Basketry

The Basket Case Exhibition [Zimbabwe] [Image credit: BBC] I came across a photo-editorial on BBC about an exhibition called ‘The Basket Case’, currently being held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare. The National Gallery is a beautiful space and a place I know well having spent many a time there perusing the latest exhibits and completing assignments. I am glad to see that it is still putting on inspiring exhibits. ‘The Basket Case’ exhibition is all about connecting the past and the present, traditional with contemporary and is based on a project by interior accessories designer, Heath Nash and the traditional basket […]

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