We are delighted to be bringing beautiful Zambian basketry to The Basket Room, and thus connecting some incredible, rural craft collectives with conscientious customers all over the world. As part of our mission to discover and connect with the most talented craftspeople across Africa, Holly and Peris travelled to Zambia in 2019. Here they met and spent time with three different weaving groups who between them produce some of the woven wall baskets, decorative dancing baskets and handwoven place mats that we are now so pleased to be able to share with you.
Natural dyes are a key feature of this very special Zambian basketry, and the weavers we partner with are masters in achieving beautiful, earthy colours from blending rust, leaves and bark from specific indigenous trees in vats of boiling water.
Men and women both weave in Zambia, and the winnowing baskets that we sell as large wall platters are often used in many weavers’ homes, and for the careful work of separating rice and grain from chaff.
Our Zambian baskets are a celebration of the weavers’ natural home environment, woven from raw materials such as palm leaf, twigs and creeper vines. Some baskets are woven from the carefully stripped roots of certain trees, harvested in a sustainable way that means the tree is not damaged and the root can continue to grow and provide an ongoing source of weaving materials.
Weaving is a vital income source and a way of life for the people in these rural communities. Other means of income are blacksmithing and woodwork, fishing, growing rice and vegetables, and rearing livestock and poultry. People as young as the age of eighteen weave in these Zambian groups, and local schools even run weaving clubs so that youngsters can learn this precious craft and continue this age-old legacy for generations to come. To own one of these handwoven baskets is to become a guardian of this sustainable craft and a supporter of these Zambian weavers’ economic empowerment.
Shop the Dancing Bowls here
Shop the Palm Placemats here
Shop the Wall Platters here