A compendium of craft masquerading as art, art masquerading as craft, and craft extending its middle finger.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"Trash" Baskets

I just learned about a very crafty bit of craft from South Africa, Zulu telephone wire baskets! The baskets in this link are carried by Indigo Arts in Philadelphia, a craft gallery known for its assortment of traditional and unusual handmade items from around the world.

For centuries South Africa's Zulu people have been famous for the sturdy and beautiful baskets they weave from grasses and palm leaf. The weaving was so tight that the best ukhamba baskets were actually used to store beer! Today these baskets are still woven in the countryside, but the Zulus living in urban area have invented a new kind of basket, the imbenge basket woven entirely of recycled telephone wire. The baskets are as bright and colorful as the telephone wire, and very sturdy. They are also completely washable! In recent years people in craft cooperatives in the the neighboring nation of Zimbabwe have developed their own distinct style of telephone wire basket, which we are also offering here.


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