Sunday, September 16, 2012

[Home] African Basket Wall Decor

Three years after moving in, I finally hung something up on our kitchen walls.  It's about time, right?  I'm not one to frequently change up my wall decor, so I took my time to find just the right thing. After contemplating contemporary art work and a gallery wall, I decided to go with something that I will love for a long, long time. Our kitchen has a natural and contemporary vibe so, with their earthy colors, texture and graphic designs, these handwoven African baskets are a perfect fit. They add interest without overwhelming our kitchen's narrow wall space.  To see the entire kitchen area (pre-baskets), click here .

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Hand woven baskets from Africa are popular right now and can be found at many large retailers.  I chose to buy mine from Baskets of Africa, a company that is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.  Fair Trade means that there is an equitable and fair partnership between the seller and the producer.  They work to provide fair and sustainable wages to low-income artisans.

I was really pleased with their service-- Their website was easy to peruse and what you see is exactly what you get;  The baskets shipped the same day that I made the purchase;  Not to mention... Free Shipping!;  And it was a nice touch to include a fact sheet that gives details on the baskets that I purchased-- information about the people who made them, what region they are from and what the baskets are/were traditionally used for.  And no, I'm not being compensated for this post. I just like to share when I find something that I like.   :)

The baskets add visual texture and nicely complement our kitchen's woven shades and dark table.

Since there are a variety of baskets to choose from, I decided to purchase different styles that complement each other. The photos on the Baskets of Africa website are clear and accurate so I added the items that I liked to the cart.  I was then able to view them together and pick & choose my final selection.
top: Tonga "Munyumbwe" basket from Zambia - 
Woven by traditional village weavers in the South of Zambia. They are subsistence farmers and work the fields during the cool mornings and weave in the hot afternoon and evenings. The Munyumbwe bowls are double thick and very strong.

middle: "Zimbabwe Binga" basket - 
Woven by the baTonga people who, in the 1960's, were forced to relocate from their land to a barren area of NW Zimbabwe. Their original fertile land was turned into Lake Kariba. These baskets are still used by the baTonga people for winnowing grain.

bottom: Tonga "Plateau" basket from Zambia-
These are the most commonly known Tonga baskets.  They were traditionally used for winnowing grain. They are woven by traditional village weavers in Zambia.

for perspective, these baskets measure roughly 14-16 inches in diameter

top: Zimbabwe "Binga" basket
middle: Tonga "Munyumbwe" basket
bottom: Tonga "Plateau" basket

I purchased this pedestal bowl basket from Serena & Lily a couple of weeks ago.  With the Labor Day discount and free shipping, it was a better deal than if I had purchased the bowls separately.  It was made by placing a 24-inch Plateau basket atop an inverted 18-inch Plateau basket. Unfortunately mine was not put together well... For lack of a better word, it was "wonky". Maybe I received the Labor Day Sale "special" ;) So I took it apart and sewed it back straight with embroidery thread. It's a nice addition and is low enough so that even the little ones can see across the table..

Hanging a Hand Woven Basket

Hanging the baskets on the wall was an art itself.  Okay... not really an art, but since each basket has its own unique shape and size, I had to adjust accordingly. I also had to make sure that I didn't damage the baskets' integrity when I hung them up.

I decided to use embroidery thread to create a "hanger" for each basket.  Embroidery thread works great because it is relatively soft, strong and comes in a huge array of colors.  

View of the front of the basket... you can barely see the thread. On the Tonga baskets the stitch is hidden behind the 2nd layer of weave.

And a view of the back of the baskets with their new hangers--
The more taut the thread the better.  I  started by placing the hangers in the middle of each basket.  After they were all hung, I adjusted a few by moving the hanger closer to the rim.

To help with placement, I cut out a template for each basket--

Instead of nails, I decided to use Command hooks.  I did this in the event that I had to move anything around.  I ended up not needing to move any of the hooks and instead adjusted the hangers on a few baskets. 

And I did all this one morning while Happy Vee was at preschool...  I feel accomplished!  ;)
I was going for a natural look, but if you're looking for something more bold and vibrant click here for more Wall Basket Display ideas.

via vt wonen  :: as seen on casa sugar

Have a nice week!

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