MWENYWE: Handwoven Blue, Mint and Pink Wool Tote Bag
Meet colourful MWENYWE: a one-of-a-kind blue, mint and pink basket bag, made from recycled woolly jumpers. This woven basket bag is a truly Kenyan celebration of sustainable style. We are proud to partner with women working within several weaving cooperatives in Eastern Kenya and Nairobi to produce these baskets.
This colourful and versatile basket bag takes its inspiration from the Kenyan kiondo (kee-yon/-doh) basket – a type of storage basket that mothers would weave for their daughters as wedding gifts. Kiondo weaving was a dying art in Kenya until very recently, and in 2004 only four elders from this cooperative had the skills to produce kiondos. Today, however, around fifty members work on these unique basket bags.
To purchase one of our woollen baskets is to support the revival of kiondo weaving, and in doing so you help us to support these skilled weavers. Basket weaving has become a sustainable line of additional income for the weavers, whose main earnings come from farming – an industry that’s increasingly 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.