PONGEZI: Handwoven Green, Yellow & Red Wool Tote Bag
Meet vibrant PONGEZI a colourful, vibrant basket bag hand woven by the Kamba tribe in Kenya. Bands of green and yellow pop against red and black stripes, creating a bohemian, tribal effect.
These ethical baskets are known traditionally as kiondos (kee-yon/-doh) and were originally made in rural Kenyan communities by mothers as wedding gifts to their daughters. Weaving this particular type of basket bag was until recently a dying art: in 2004 only four elders from the weaving group had the skills make Kiondos, but today there are fifty skilled weavers bringing this wonderful craft back to life and these beautiful baskets are entering a renaissance as nifty and beautiful shoulder bags.
The wool used to weave the exquisite patterns into these colourful bags comes from upcycled jumpers bought at local clothes markets, and the bags are then finished in a local leather works with supple cow hide straps for carrying. The weaving alone takes up to six days to finish.
To take home one our woollen basket bags is to become an important part of our journey: an intricately woven tale of ethics and craftsmanship. We are proud to support the weavers, providing a sustainable source of income for farming communities whose primary income can be unreliable. Each woven basket bag 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: W 51cm x H 32cm (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.