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