KARAI: Handwoven Blue , Orange Wool Tote Bag
Karai is a beautiful, one-off handwoven basket boasting bands of blue and orange. Hand woven by women within a small weaving cooperative in rural Eastern Kenya, these colourful baskets are woven using traditional methods and geometric designs. These small storage baskets make fabulous planters as well as fun storage for nursery toys, TV remotes and tech, coffee pods, toiletries, sewing kit, pens and pencils – their uses are endless!
These African woven baskets are known traditionally as Kiondos (kee-yon/-doh) and were woven by mothers as wedding gifts for their daughters. Not long ago Kiondo weaving was a dying art in Kenya, though today it is seeing a renaissance thanks to the handful of small weaving groups still practising this age-old craft.
No two baskets from this collection are the same. The weavers source their yarns by travelling to local ‘gikombas’ (second-hand clothes markets) to purchase colourful woollen jumpers. These are then washed and unravelled into separate balls of wool. The women who weave these small baskets have an exceptional eye for colour and pattern, producing each basket to their own design and choice of colours. Baskets take up to four days to complete, and weaving is often done around farm work, household chores, social engagements and childcare.
To purchase one of our wool and sisal baskets is to support the revival of kiondo weaving, and in doing so you help us to support the weavers in the provision of a sustainable income. Basket weaving has become a sustainable source of additional income for the weavers, whose main earnings come from farming – a line of work increasingly vulnerable to drought. Each colourful basket comes with some information about the weaving cooperative that produced it, and you can meet these weavers HERE.
Material: SISAL & RECYCLED WOOL (NATURAL & SYNTHETIC)
Dimensions: W48cm x H31cm
Please note, as this is a handmade product, dimensions & colour may vary from those shown in the photographs.
HANDMADE IN KENYA
Our journey into sustainable style began in Kenya, and the lion’s share of our woven baskets are Kenyan-made. Whilst every region of Kenya boasts its own rich natural bounty, each cooperative we partner with offers expertise in its own unique form of basketry. Weaving, dyeing and grass-rolling techniques differ across the regions as much as basket shapes, patterns and structures. These precious crafts are woven through the generations within families - passed along continuous thread from mother to daughter - protecting and preserving an art form as old as man.
Vast and colourful, vibrant and bursting with natural beauty and style, our fair trade baskets are as eclectic as their homeland and its people. From sisal grass to doum palm, banana leaf fibres to palm leaf, each weaving cooperative works with what is locally available and only what can be sustainably sourced, to produce beautiful baskets which are 100% Kenyan made, and ethically produced. All cow hide bag tags, straps, and basket labels are made from leather sourced as a by-product of the food industry. Natural dyes come from pounded roots, bark and vegetables of the region, whilst all synthetic dyes are sustainably sourced.
From the Kamba tribe to the camel-herding Ariaal pastoralists of Northern Kenya, you can read more about the lives of the Kenyan weavers we work with - and the wonderful baskets they produce - below.