MWIZA: Medium Brown and Beige Wall Basket: 46cm dia
MWIZA is woven from palm tree leaf, creeper vines and locally foraged twigs, these earthy-coloured, woven wall platters come in three sizes and each one is a one-off. A coiled rim, herringbone patterns, and geometric designs characterize this collection, but the specific pattern has been decided by the weaver herself, taking inspiration from her natural surroundings. Create a collection for your walls or choose one to make a striking statement.
When the Kariba Dam - a man made dam on the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe – was built in the 1970’s. Many local people were displaced. The government and other parties sought to empower these displaced people by encouraging them to pursue and earn a living from traditional crafts such as basket weaving, blacksmithing and woodwork.
These wall hanging baskets are known across Africa as ‘winnowing baskets’ and are still widely used in weavers’ homes for decoration, for carrying grains and foodstuffs and for general home storage. Of all the basket designs produced by these weaving groups, these woven platters are perhaps the oldest and the most traditional.
The weavers who produce these wall baskets tend to weave together in groups, meeting regularly to weave in the shade. Income made from basket weaving is used to invest in agriculture or fishing and to support the family and pay children’s school fees.
Material: Palm Leaf
Dimensions: DIA 46cm
Please note, as this is a handmade product, dimensions & colour may vary from those shown in the photographs.
HANDMADE IN ZAMBIA
We are delighted to be bringing beautiful Zambian basketry to The Basket Room, and thus connecting some incredible, rural craft collectives with conscientious customers all over the world. As part of our mission to discover and connect with the most talented craftspeople across Africa, Holly and Peris travelled to Zambia in 2019. Here they met and spent time with three different weaving groups who between them produce some of the woven wall baskets, decorative dancing baskets and handwoven place mats that we are now so pleased to be able to share with you.
Natural dyes are a key feature of this very special Zambian basketry, and the weavers we partner with are masters in achieving beautiful, earthy colours from blending rust, leaves and bark from specific indigenous trees in vats of boiling water.
Men and women both weave in Zambia, and the winnowing baskets that we sell as large wall platters are often used in many weavers’ homes, and for the careful work of separating rice and grain from chaff.
Our Zambian baskets are a celebration of the weavers’ natural home environment, woven from raw materials such as palm leaf, twigs and creeper vines. Some baskets are woven from the carefully stripped roots of certain trees, harvested in a sustainable way that means the tree is not damaged and the root can continue to grow and provide an ongoing source of weaving materials.
Weaving is a vital income source and a way of life for the people in these rural communities. Other means of income are blacksmithing and woodwork, fishing, growing rice and vegetables, and rearing livestock and poultry. People as young as the age of eighteen weave in these Zambian groups, and local schools even run weaving clubs so that youngsters can learn this precious craft and continue this age-old legacy for generations to come. To own one of these handwoven baskets is to become a guardian of this sustainable craft and a supporter of these Zambian weavers’ economic empowerment.
Shop the Dancing Bowls here
Shop the Palm Placemats & Trays here
Shop the Wall Platters here
Shop the Statement Art Baskets here