MWENYEWE: Extra Small Red Sisal Basket
The MWENYEWE is literally one-of-a-kind: a red pattern storage basket handwoven in rural Kenya. This colourful basket was produced by a highly talented weaver working within a women’s cooperative in the country’s Coastal Region, to her own design.
The Basket Room works with a Community Based Organisation (CBO) which represents these women’s groups, and financially empowers over 500 women. All of the profits from sales - as well as any other money received from donations to the CBO - are used only to offer support to these women’s groups.
The meticulous art of basket weaving is passed along the female line in rural Kenya, and these most creative weavers work to their own original patterns and designs, selecting their own dyes and colourways and enjoying full artistic expression in their work. Sisal grass is hand stripped using wooden tools and the use of weavers’ feet, and then the fibres are hand rolled on the thighs to create a string-like material which is then woven using a traditional twining method. All sisal grass is hand-dyed in large vats of boiling water.
This truly unique woven basket can be used as a stunning planter or flower pot for your indoor succulents and cacti, or it would make a stylish desk tidy if your work space craves a splash of colour. Pop your MWENYEWE on the dressing table for keeping make up and brushes in one place, or use yours in the bathroom for storing toiletries. For more basket inspiration, see our uses page HERE.
Subsistence farming is the mainstay of these weavers’ livelihoods, but with crops suffering in the dry season – and the dry seasons becoming longer and more frequent - basket weaving is a vital, income-generating craft for these women. By bringing home one of these baskets you play your own part in empowering women to financially support themselves and their families through the dry seasons. Meet the weavers from this region HERE.
Dimensions: 15cm DIA x 12cm H
Click here for our basket SIZE GUIDE
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.