Discover the colourful homewares brand as generous with its designs as it is to its makers
A WALL OF BASKETS FEATURED IN TABARA N’DIAYE’S NEW BOOK ‘BASKETS’. IMAGE: PENNY WINCER
Storage. One of the dull but essential requirements of every household and something we never seem to have enough of. It’s also often completely uninspiring; who wants to see rows of cracked plastic containers under beds and stacked in cupboards? Not us.
Which is why we were delighted to discover La Basketry, the online homewares brand. Set up in 2017 by London-based Paris-raised sisters Tabara and Mamy N’Diaye, La Basketry sells beautiful, colourful baskets handmade by craftswomen in Senegal.
From placemats and fans to laundry baskets and fruit bowls, La Basketry’s pieces are made with sustainable and recycled materials which bring design flair as well as practicality to any style of home. La Basketry gives employment and a fair wage to the female artisans who make them, and also contributes a percentage of its profits to support local initiatives by the community.
With crafting growing exponentially in popularity, Tabara has written a book for would-be basket makers. In Baskets, the four chapters tackle different materials and techniques to create 15 storage accessories of your own. Tabara tells us more.
LA BASKETRY CO-FOUNDER TABARA N’DIAYE. IMAGE: PENNY WINCER
What inspired you and Many to set up La Basketry?
My sister and I have always been fascinated by the amazing work of artisans around Senegal, where we are originally from. One summer, we ended up in a small artisanal village where basketry has been cherished for generations and instantly connected with the group of women we met. That day, we both knew we wanted to work with them and help shine a light on their amazing creations.
We launched with a capsule collection of six storage bowls. The range has now significantly grown to include products for the nursery and accessories but storage baskets are still the core of what we do and what our customers love.
Why is it so important to you to work with artisans in Senegal?
We obviously have personal connections to Senegal and as two sisters who were not born there (we were born and raised in France) we’ve always wanted to do something that would ‘connect’ us back to our roots. La Basketry allows us to work directly with a group of 12 fantastic women and provide them with regular employment. We are also very proud to nurture a new generation of makers who didn’t necessarily see basket-making as a viable career but can now see that there are opportunities.
IMAGES: PENNY WINCER
There has been a huge shift towards consumers seeking handmade, ethically made homewares with social conscience at their core – why do you think that is?
We live in a digital world where mass-produced items are king and everything is moving very fast. I think more and more, people are embracing a slower lifestyle. There’s something really beautiful in reconnecting with the Earth – what’s handmade and what you put in your body, soul and in your house.
The fashion industry has obviously been under a lot of scrutiny since the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Dakha, Bangladesh, and it’s great to see shoppers across all industries now wanting to know where and how what they buy has been made.
Your book is all about how to make baskets yourself – what would you say is the particular pleasure to be found in crafting?
Crafting is the best! I do hope ‘Baskets’ will encourage people to embrace basketry and realise what a fantastic meditative hobby it is. Basketry is intertwined with so many other disciplines such as sewing, weaving or shaping in pottery and there’s an abundance of materials available to create some so it’s not as scary as it looks – it’s very accessible!
My attention span had really shrunk before I started crafting but today, basket-making peacefully allows me to zone out. Hours pass and all I care about is transforming some grasses into a beautiful object. I can forget about my phone and my to-do list and just focus on the present moment.
IMAGES: PENNY WINCER
What are your styling tips for decorating with baskets?
You can’t go wrong with a basket wall. Mix and match different types of baskets – the more patterns and textures, the better! You can also use mirrors, hats, masks, prints or art pieces to add another dimension to your wall. What I love about a basket wall is that if you change your mind and want a different display, all you need to do is lift the basket off the wall and put it back in the kitchen!
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