MWAKA: Large Green, White and Brown Sisal Basket
With decorative bands of green, white and brown, this MWAKA basket was woven by a highly skilled craftswoman working within a weaving cooperative in Kenya’s rural Coastal Region. This is a group we have worked with since The Basket Room began in 2014 and these ladies have an exceptional eye for colour and pattern.
Basket weaving is a slow and meticulous craft – a skill typically passed down the female ancestral line in Kenyan families. Sisal grass is stripped using wooden tools and the weavers’ feet, and then it is hand rolled on the thighs before being woven using a traditional twining method. All sisal grass is hand-dyed in large vats of boiling water.
This unique woven basket can be used all over the home for tidying, storing and organising - bringing a splash of style and a pop of rich colour. Take your MWAKA into the kitchen for keeping fruit and vegetables in, pop yours in the bathroom for storing loo rolls or toiletries, or use it to home your latest houseplant – in a macrame hanger if you’re short on space. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll keep on repurposing this beautiful, durable basket as the years go by. For more basket inspiration and to see how our customers use their baskets round the home, see our uses page HERE.
The Basket Room works with a Community Based Organisation representing several women’s weaving cooperatives in Kenya. Profits from basket sales and all donations to the CBO are used to offer further support to these women’s groups. Weaving takes place primarily during the dry seasons, since most weavers are subsistence farmers using basket weaving as a supplementary income stream.
Dimensions: 28cm DIA x 25cm 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.