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African Baskets of Dramatic Proportion

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African Baskets of Dramatic Proportion

Justine Hand April 17, 2013

Partnering with indigenous crafters throughout the African Continental, Design Afrika bridges the gap between local tradition and the wider world of design.

Founder Binky Newman creates Design Afrika’s dramatically proportioned baskets, which are inspired by the over-sized vessels of South African potter Louise Gelderblom. The designs are then rendered in wire by Zimbabwean artisan Professor Pedro in Cape Town and transferred to a village near Coffee Bay, incurring their signature dings and dents along the way. Xhosa women then weave around the frames, dents and all, to create these truly organic, one-of a kind pieces.

Above: Hailing from many regions and traditions, Design Afrika baskets come in numerous shapes and sizes, from these impressive Xhosa gourds to smaller bowls and other vessels. Design Afrika also supplies other African hand woven goods and textiles. You can read more about Design Afrika’s partners here.

Above: Pictured with Batongo stools from Zambia, the small Xhosa gourd basket is available at Sundance; $225. Contact Binky at Design Afrika for wholesale information on larger pieces.

Above: As part of an effort to provide a sustainable income to indigenous people and preserve their local traditions, all Design Afrika baskets are handmade by traditional artisans from all over Africa. Here a woman from Zimbabwe shows off a large Bulawayo basket.

Above: The “wonky” shapes of Bulawayo baskets only add to their charm.

Above: Two other favorites: a Xhosa long neck basket and Buhera bowl.

Above: Binky Newman stands with some of her partners from South Africa’s Masizame Women’s Project, who weave her designs from dried river reeds.

N.B. Looking for more exotic baskets? The Aboriginal vessels from Tjanpi (“Grass”) Desert Weavers association are also among our favorites.

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