BILA: Handwoven Red and Blue Wool Tote Bag
BILA is a stunning red and blue basket bag: a truly Kenyan work of colour and craft. This ethical basket bag is a genuine one-off: made once and sold once. Like what you see? Then snap BILA up now because when it’s gone, it’s gone!
This yarn basket bag was woven by a member of Kenya’s famous Kamba tribe, working within a cooperative. These Kamba artisans design each basket bag themselves, choosing patterns and colourways of their own preference. Baskets take up to four days to weave, and basketry is often fitted in around agricultural duties, household chores, childcare and social events.
Durable and totally unique, these basket bags are made from wool from second hand jumpers, woven around local sisal grass. The weavers regularly visit the ‘gikombas’ (clothes markets) to select and purchase colourful woollen jumpers, which are washed and unravelled at home into separate balls of coloured wool – and then woven. The bags are finished in a local leather works, being fitted supple cow hide straps for carrying.
Support the revival of this creative art when you purchase one of our Nifty Knit Basket Bags: in doing so you help us to support these weavers. Basket weaving has become a flexible, supplementary source of additional income for the weavers, whose main earnings come from farming – a line of work that’s largely dependent on rainfall and therefore vulnerable to drought. Each woven basket is supplied with a thank you card from the weaving cooperative, and you can meet the weavers HERE.
Material: SISAL & RECYCLED WOOL (NATURAL & SYNTHETIC) LEATHER STRAPS
Dimensions: 40cmW X 30cmH approx (width is measured at the widest part of the bag)
Strap Length: 29cm approx
Leather used is a by-product of the food industry.
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.