BENKI: Small White and Brown Sisal Basket
The BENKI is a beautiful synergy of 100% natural dyes: brown, black and white stripes combine in a most striking, tribal effect. This striped basket in a wonderfully fine and supple weave is one-of-a-kind, hand woven in Kenya’s rural Coastal Region by a skilled craftswoman working to her own weave patterns and colour choices.
Use your BENKI as a planter or flower pot for indoor greenery, or pop yours on your desk to bring a splash of ethical Kenyan style to your workspace. This woven basket looks wonderful on a nightstand or dressing table, and can be used in the kitchen for storing small foodstuffs like garlic, herbs or condiments.
The Basket Room is proud to work with a Community Based Organisation representing several women’s weaving cooperatives in Kenya. These most artistic collectives enjoy the flexible working conditions offered by basket weaving, and the rates of pay guaranteed by working within a cooperative. Sisal grass is hand stripped using wooden tools and bare feet, and then it is hand rolled on the thighs before being hand-dyed in natural dyes, in large vats of boiling water.
Basket weaving is a vibrant and income-generating art form, a craft passed down the female bloodline in Kenya. Weaving is a flexible, portable mode of work and takes place primarily during the dry seasons when crop production suffers. Each basket comes with a thank you card from the cooperative who made yours - meet the weavers HERE.
Dimensions: 20cm DIA x 17cm H
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.