Baskets have been produced as far into many centuries before within Africa, with every culture having its varying weave technique and decorative style.
African decorative baskets have grown big in the western market and have been adapted into contemporary interior styles and spaces.
The following baskets are created in different parts of Africa, each with its unique decorative style and production technique, but with same functional intention and its oftentimes aesthetic outcome.
In present day, each of these baskets serve in creating unique expressions within various spheres such as contemporary fashion and design and within modern and traditional interior spaces.
Moroccan baskets are thoughtfully crafted from date palm leaves which grow widely within the region. The weavers also source reed and alfa grass which are locally available within the region and used during the weaving process. The technique involves weaving each fibre into long strips and having them stitched on in the process.
The Moroccan basket weaving artistry is one amongst many that’s widely exported and used within interiors for both storage and aesthetic purposes.
Baskets within Nigeria are individually hand-woven in a couple cultures and renownedly in northern areas like Maidguri by the Hausa people.
The Hausa people collect various grasses, which they harvest every summer and weave into these grain bowls. The baskets are given as wedding gifts to save and store grain and also double as decorative pieces when not in used
For traditional basket weaving in Rwanda, the coil is made of native grasses and can take anywhere between 15 minutes to a full hour to weave, depending on the pattern and size of the basket.
Sisal fiber is then finely stitched on the coil’s exterior. The sisal plant itself grows wild throughout Rwanda, Up to 1,000 fibers are stripped out of the sword-shaped leaves by pushing the leaf between a metal can and piece of wood to remove the pulp. The fine fibers that remain are then spun into long threads, and hand-woven using traditional patterns interpreted in modern colors.
A lot of time and resources can be spent experimenting with colors and mixing dyes to produce the correct tint. Once the right color is made, the women hand-dye strands of sisal and let them dry in the sun to create the colours the rwandan baskets are known for.
Sisal Baskets of Swaziland
Over at Swaziland, the weavers use sisal fibers during the weaving process. An 8 inch basket would take roughly an average of 30 hours, with each sisal wrapped and stitched over tiny bundles of grass.
Each of these cultures with its unique basket style represents more than just a means for cultural identification but presents us with the value of staying expressive within African art, either in our spaces or lifestyle choices. And because African baskets have evolved expansively into a lot of forms, newer weave patterns are oftentimes inspired by this evolvement.
Check out these African woven baskets handcrafted across other African cultures and used creatively within interior spaces.