INAWEZA: Handwoven Red, Black & Green Wool Tote Bag
Brought to you by the most skilled and expressive weavers of the Kenyan Kamba tribe, your INAWEZA is a unique creation. This beautiful basket bag boasts vibrant tones of red, black and green and is woven out of the yarn from upcycled woolly jumpers.
The weavers regularly visit ‘gikombas’ (clothes markets) to select and purchase second-hand jumpers, which are then washed and unravelled into separate balls of coloured wool. Basket bags take up to four days to finish before being sent to a local tannery to have their cow-hide shoulder straps fitted.
Known officially as Kiondos (kee-yon/-doh) in rural Kenyan communities, these tribal pattern baskets were once woven by mothers as wedding gifts for their daughters – both practical and beautiful. Kiondo weaving was a dying art until only recently, with only a few elders still practising the craft. Today, these beautiful baskets are experiencing a revival in their new guise as versatile and unique shoulder bags.
You become a sponsor of this ethical craft when you bring home one of our woollen kiondo baskets - you also become an important part of our journey to support Kenyan weavers. Our basket orders provide flexible, paid work for the Kamba weavers, whose primary incomes rely on farming. Each woven basket bag 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.