MWISHOWE: Small Brown and Green Sisal Basket
The MWISHOWE is a true one-off: a brown and green storage basket woven by hand from hand-dyed sisal grass. This unique basket was produced by an extremely skilled female weaver in Kenya’s rural Coastal Region, working to her own design and choice of colours. There is only one of these woven baskets: once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Use yours as a pretty little planter or flower pot for homing your indoor greenery, if your work space craves a splash of colour use yours for storing pens and pencils. Place your MWISHOWE on the dressing table for keeping accessories and jewellery safe, or pop yours on the bathroom shelf for keeping toiletries tidy. For more basket inspiration, see our uses page HERE.
The Basket Room works with a Community Based Organisation (CBO) which represents a number of women’s weaving cooperatives. 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.
Producing each unique fine weave basket is a lengthy process. Sisal grass is hand stripped using traditional wooden tools and the use of weavers’ feet, and then these stiff fibres are hand rolled on the thighs to create a string-like material. Once hand dyed in large vats of boiling water, the grass is woven using a traditional twining method.
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: 18cm DIA x 19cm 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.