BasketBasket import handmade ethically produced woven baskets, bags, handbags, sun hats and raffia giraffes – eco friendly and stylish for everyday living. Chic and unique!
Our products are all made in Africa where the work is done in the villages and homes of our artisans; no factory work is involved in the making of our stock. Everything is made with natural sustainable products – palm leaves and grasses which vary from country to country. The leather handles are the by-product from meat production. Nothing goes to waste and at the end of their working life, they will biodegrade.
The baskets are ideal for shopping and can also be used for the beach, picnics, laundry, household storage and much more. They make excellent gifts, although most of our customers like to keep one or two for themselves!
Since starting BasketBasket in 2008, we have been lucky enough to visit most of our artisans to experience their way of life and see first hand how the whole production process works. The majority are farmers first but weave to supplement their income. Climate change is having an effect on their crops so money earned from weaving ensures a regular income all year round.
The baskets from Morocco are made with dwarf palm plants which grow in the wild on the slopes of the Atlas Mountains near Marrakesh. The young leaves are cut and dried before weaving, whilst ensuring the parent plants can continue to grow and produce more leaves. These leaves are woven in to the Berber styles and the backpacks.
The other Moroccan palm baskets are made with leaves from doum palm trees that line valleys and riverbeds in the south of Morocco. They are an essential source of income providing dates, which is a growing export product for Morocco, as well as helping prevent soil erosion from the strong desert winds and they also help shade the crops and fruit trees that grow beneath them. The trunks are used for house building and obviously the fronds are then used to make baskets, mats, ropes, etc etc. These are used for weaving our baskets in villages about 2 hours from Fès in north Morocco.
The palm leaves are woven into strips and the strips are then sewn together to make up the baskets. The palm is splashed with water during weaving to make it more malleable which helps make a tighter weave. Depending on the size, it takes 3-4 hours to make each basket.
They are then collected and taken to seamstresses for the leather handles to be sewn on. The twine for sewing the handles is pulled through bee’s wax to make for smoother stitches through the leather and palm leaves. We have always requested the sewn handles, they are just as strong as metal rivets but have the added advantage of not going rusty in our damp climate!
The baskets don’t mind getting wet as long as they’re allowed to thoroughly dry out because the palm will become mouldy if left damp.
The palm baskets from Madagascar are from the native raffia palm that grows in the tropical rainforests. They actually need to be harvested regularly to allow other plants and flowers to grow. The tree has a short trunk which is used in house building and the branches can grow up to 18m long. Each branch is made of roughly 100 smaller fronds and the leaves are peeled before being dried in the sunshine. They are then cut into thin strips and washed to flatten the strips before being dyed in large pots over open fires. It is then laid out in the sunshine to dry.
Weaving is done in homes on a hand loom – roughly 250g of raffia is used to make a 180cm x 62cm panel and takes a day to weave. This can only be done during daylight as none of the homes have electricity – or running water. The panels are then sewn together to make up the baskets and bags.
The leather handles are also the by-product from meat production (zebu cow) and are hand sewn with straw inside to make the round shape.
All the hats are made from raffia. The majority are made from the raffia panels which are woven by handlooms and then cut into shapes before being sewn together. They can also be rolled up so perfect for holiday packing.
The giraffes make everyone smile! Grass is sculpted into the basic shape and then raffia is wound around before the manes, tails and ears are sewn on. The perfect household pet – no food, walking or litter tray required!
BasketBasket have kindly donated to the CheltenhamMaman Go Red Trek fundraising page in aid of the Eve Appeal in exchange for me telling you all about the brilliant service they offer! You can send me a blog to publish all about your business too this September for just a £20 donation to the fundraising page! Drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.