Baskets for my store
When I opened my first shop in Lagrasse 27 years ago, it was just a dream that I would be able to create a Homeware collection to offer baskets let alone actually try to make them myself. Now I find myself sitting in Cape Town, watching Regina show me a new protoype that we’re creating as part of our collaboration. I linked up with Regina and her women’s co-operative Dunoon Weavers through Binky Newman of Design Afrika, to help them with their ethical social enterprise. What’s unusual about Regina and her colleagues is that they live in an urban township; weavers mostly reside in the countryside.
The Dunoon weavers
Half a dozen women are now part of the Dunoon co-operative and I’m proud to offer their designs in my shop. They are all special, unique and sold at a fair price. One medium sized basket takes them 5 days to make, bending and coaxing the natural reed into shape. All of Regina's 5 grandchildren are fortunate to be at school because she can afford to buy the school books, the uniform and help them with the costs. She’ll sit for hours creating a basket that has to compete with a factory produced uniform piece that has no sustainability or ethics. I love that I am helping Regina and her co-workers. I appreciate all the people from Lagrasse, Paris, across France, the UK and the world, who are supporting this project by buying her unique baskets.
So here is how I learnt to make my very first basket last year in Uzès, here in France. My fingers ached, were sore from the willow, but the smile on my face was enormous … and I appreciated the value of Regina’s work even more!
Hands on weaving
I’ve just spent 2 days working with Regina & Co, to learn their weaving techniques, to better understand what is involved, technically, in weaving with this reed (cyperus), to help me with the design process. My two days have produced 2 half baskets and a little mat of which I am ridiculously proud, and even more in awe of the skills of these talented crafters from Dunoon.