When we launched The Basket Room seven months ago, we set off on a journey that held mystery, adventure and hard work in store. A journey with roots going back to 2007, when Camilla and Holly met at Art College studying Fashion. As our paths crossed again six years later, The Basket Room was organically born out of a combined passion for ethical design, handicrafts and culture. Now, we are about to embark on one of our most challenging and exciting chapters so far: we are traveling to Kenya to meet, work and stay with the weaving co-operatives.
We have spent the last few months planning our trip, Camilla has been to meet the weavers on an initial visit, a very long dusty drive East of Nairobi. They are weaving co-operatives who are eager to show off their creations to the wider world. Here you can see piles of forgotten baskets, orders that had been placed but not been paid for. Gathering dust in the corner, these baskets are evident of hours of weaving, stories written but untold.
The piles of forgotten baskets at the weaving co-operative
The baskets the women weave are made from sisal, a crop resistant to drought, and are used to carry the harvest. Weaving is an alternative, sustainable income for the women and their families during the dry seasons, as a supplement to their farming production. Madam Dorcas, Chairlady of one of the co-operatives, is keen to find more work for the women. We agree with her that they have amazing weaving skills that deserve to access a wider market and recognition.
Madam Dorcas (on the right in her beautiful woven hat!) with members of the co-operative.
Members of the Weaving Co-operative
We will visit these co-operatives with open minds, but with a goal to work with these women, to create long-term relationships and access to market for their beautiful baskets. To support them in their age-old tradition and be able to offer them a sustainable and fair income.
During our first week we will be visiting the weaving groups in South-Eastern Kenya, where we currently source our sisal baskets that we all love so much! Holly is particularly excited as she will be meeting the ladies for the first time, giving her the opportunity to see first hand each stage of the weaving process. Here we will be spending time with the co-operative to talk about new designs and attempt to make some baskets ourselves!
Members of the weaving co-operative and a close up of the weaving process
Your continued interest in The Basket Room has given these weavers a more consistent and steady income for their baskets and enabled them a greater access to market, so THANK YOU!
We would love for you to follow us on this incredible trip, to see behind the scenes and gain a more personal understanding about this incredible art form that you have been supporting.
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All photographs copyright of The Basket Room. Photographer Camilla Sutton