Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Five Best Baskets to Give as Gifts

At Baskets of Africa, our collection of Fair Trade baskets covers all color palettes and purposes. Here are our top five basket choices for different folks on your list.

Colorful Bowls Made from Woven Wire
Zulu Wire Bowls and Cup
  1 - Woven Wire Baskets from Zululand
$17 — $200
Whether you want to give a few small pieces as a desk set, or a platter to decorate a countertop or wall, the vibrant colors and swirling designs make Zulu wire a lovely gift. Have a “tech” person on your gift list?  These bowls were featured on the WireCutter as a “cool fusion of traditional art using modern materials.”

2 - Lidded Baskets
$24 — $80
Put a little something (Swazi jewelry, perhaps?) in one of these charming lidded baskets, add a bow, and…voilà! The recipient has a beautiful keepsake basket. We have several lidded baskets to choose from, including nesting peace baskets from Rwanda, colorful Rwenzori baskets from Uganda, beaded baskets from Kenya, and earthy pots from Botswana and South Africa.
Market Baskets from Ghana
Market Baskets from Ghana

3 - Bolga Baskets from Ghana
$16.50 — $245
This is a gift that will come in handy all year, and last for years to come. The small baskets are great for creating your own gift basket, or give a larger basket that can be used for shopping. Ghana Bolga baskets are beautiful, strong, and versatile.

4 - Sparkly Beaded Bowls from Kenya
$25 — $65
Artists in Kenya take shimmering glass beads, string them on wire, and weave the wire into bowls. The result is a cheerful, colorful, affordable gift that will be sure to please.
Coil Woven Bowl from Uganda
Rwenzori Bowl with Floral Pattern

5 - Rwenzori Weaving from Uganda
$27 —$134
From small bowls to serving trays and cups, Rwenzori weaving features colorful, geometric designs. So pretty! HGTV featured these baskets as one of their favorite items to decorate a wall.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

What is So Unusual About Zulu Wire Baskets?

For many years now Baskets of Africa has had the pleasure of working with a group of weavers in Zululand who create colorful baskets woven from a rather unusual material: plastic-coated wire.

Originally created from telephone wire, these baskets are also unusual because of the process in which they are woven.

Traditionally, baskets are created by starting at the bottom and weaving up and out. Zulu wire baskets, however, are created by wrapping the wire around the rim first, then working down and into the center, tightly weaving over a form.

 Woven wire bowl

The bowl pictured above was made by wrangling at least 34 strands of wire into a beautiful swirling rainbow of color — no easy feat. And the platter pictured below was started with 135 pieces of wire.

 Zulu woven wire platter

As the artist worked toward the center, the design got smaller and smaller and pieces of wire are carefully trimmed. When the weaver completed the platter, the few remaining pieces of wire were trimmed and smoothed. The result is a smooth surface and a vibrant design.

Perhaps the most challenging shape to create is the lidded pot.

 Colorful woven wire lidded pot

These are also woven from top to bottom, but they are woven over a form that has to be broken when the weaving is done.

Zulu wire baskets represent some of the most modern and vibrant weaving available today. Explore the variety of colors and shapes this weaving group creates in our Zulu Wire collection: http://www.basketsfromafrica.com/items/zulu-wire-baskets/list.htm