CHAI: Extra Large Red and Blue Wool Basket
Handwoven by weavers of the deeply creative Kamba tribe, your CHAI storage basket is a genuinely unique work of Kenyan craft. This striped basket is durable enough to hold kindling and fireside logs, and supple enough to be used as nursery storage, as a large planter, or a colourful laundry basket. Wherever in the home you choose to use yours it is sure to bring a pop of Kenyan style with its earthy geometric bands of red and blue.
All our Nifty Knits are woven using sisal and wool from recycled jumpers. The design and colour choices rest solely with the weaver – we don’t design these ones! The weavers regularly visit ‘gikombas’ (clothes markets) to select and purchase woolly jumpers which are washed and unravelled into separate balls of coloured wool. Baskets take up to four days to finish, and weaving is often completed around agricultural duties, household chores, childcare, worship and social events.
Known officially as Kiondos (kee-yon/-doh) in rural Kenyan communities, these geometric patterned baskets were once woven by mothers as wedding gifts for their daughters – both practical and beautiful. Kiondo weaving was a diminishing craft in Kenya until very recently: in 2004 only four craftswomen in this weaving cooperative had the experience to produce them, but today there are fifty active members reviving this wonderful craft.
You become a champion of this traditional craft when you bring home one of these striped storage baskets, and an important part of our journey to support these Kenyan weavers. Our basket orders provide flexible and sustainable work for the Kamba weavers, whose primary incomes rely on farming. Each woven basket comes with a little information about the weaving cooperative, and you can read a bit more about them HERE.
Material: SISAL & RECYCLED WOOL (NATURAL & SYNTHETIC)
Dimensions: 41cm Dia x 37cm 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.