NATURAL: White and Natural Handwoven Placemat
Bring some ethical style to the table with these beautiful round placemats, hand woven from indigenous lutindzi grass in rural Swaziland. A white rim encircles each of these woven mats, framing a circle of undyed, natural woven fibre.
This wiry grass grows wild in the mountainous regions of Swaziland, and boasts a naturally waxy finish which makes it water and stain-resistant – perfect for tableware. Available to purchase individually, these placemats look particularly striking arranged with our set of six matching coasters, and our White Rim Bread Basket and LAVUSIMO Star Bowl.
A skilled craftswoman working within a Swazi weaving cooperative produced these placemats, in partnership with social enterprise Gone Rural Bomake. This organization now works with over 770 artisans across 53 communities spread over three regions of Swaziland: each group trained to specialise in a different craft that uses the unique natural materials available in their area. Since 1970, Gone Rural has been empowering women, supporting children and creating sustainable employment. You can meet the weavers from Swaziland here.
MATERIAL: Lutindzi Grass (Indigenous to Swaziland & grows wild in the mountains)
DIMENSIONS: 32cm W
Please note, as this is a handmade product, dimensions & colour may vary from those shown in the photographs.
Price is for one placemat, please select your desired quantity from the drop-down menu.
FAIR TRADE AND ETHICALLY HANDMADE IN SWAZILAND
With the support of local charity, Gone Rural, the weavers behind these beautiful fair trade baskets and bowls are trained in various handcrafts using the traditional techniques and the raw materials locally available to them. Promoting local crafts in this way protects livelihoods and helps build viable income channels for future generations.
Gone Rural buys the lutindzi grasses from local harvesting communities and prepares it in their workshop using eco-friendly dyes, fuel-efficient burners and non-indigenous wood. The grass is then dried, weighed and bundled up before being distributed amongst the weaving communities along with basket designs so that the weavers can start their work with everything they need. Grass deliveries and orders arrive monthly on a rolling basis so that the weavers have a steady stream of reliable work, and three weeks after grass deliveries an informal market day is held in the mountains, where the production team returns to purchase finished baskets. Many artisans assemble here monthly to sell their wares: everything from baked goods to second-hand clothes and home-grown vegetables, as well as these woven baskets.
This organisation runs vital programmes to support the weavers, their families and their communities: many mothers credit basket weaving initiatives for paying their children’s school fees, and some communities have had boreholes drilled with the proceeds from their work after wages have been paid.
Shop the Swazi Hills Tableware collection here.