The basic process involves weaving strands of fibres over and under each other to create the basket. Different techniques are used, such as coiling, plaiting, and twining. It all depends on the region, the locally available materials, and the way it has always been done. Basketry is a skill that is passed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. Women are the future of this industry in Africa, by the way, but we’ll get back to that.
The women gather the materials in season — palm and banana leaves and sisal fibres, among others. Many types of grasses and leaves can be used. And these are sustainable sources. Every season, the raw material grows again. And by the seasons, the women weave their baskets. When the material is ready, they harvest what they need and dry it. It’s the natural cycle and the respect for nature, the respect for heritage and ancestry, that gives these baskets their depth.