Basket weaving is a beautiful and ancient craft that goes back hundreds of years. It’s steeped in history and to understand more about this traditional African craft we spoke to the incredible Tabara N’Diaye from La Basketry. Tabara creates basket, runs workshops and has even written a book all with the aim to bring basket weaving into the game.
Here’s her story! Over to you Tabara…
That first love: it was back in the summer of 1997 in Senegal, West Africa. It was hot. As the sun beat down, I saw it standing tall and proud in a busy market – the basket of my dreams – and I knew I needed it at that moment.
My love for baskets only grew deeper throughout the years, but it was really when I visited a rural village called Ngaye Mkeke outside of my parents’ hometown that I understood the deeper connection behind them – a craft passed down from generation to generation, female weavers gathering together in courtyards and coiling baskets until the sunsets.
Learning to weave baskets was the obligatory next step. I initially taught myself by deconstructing them under the blazing Senegalese sun before finally taking various courses in London to hone my skills. Today I’m on a mission to shine a light on one of the world’s oldest crafts via my online shop, La Basketry, that has been offering handmade products by the same group of artisans for the past two years.
I’ve also just released my first book, Baskets, which demonstrates exactly how to make everything from a cane lampshade to a plant hanger, as well as sharing the abundance of materials readily available, making basketry really accessible. Did you know that you can make baskets out of yarns, newspapers, or even plastic bags?