For 20 years, we have been traveling across Africa to import handmade, woven baskets and lidded laundry hampers for US markets. From Senegal baskets to bolga baskets from Ghana, we offer unique baskets for every room and purpose in your home.
All of our African baskets are fair trade certified under the Fair Trade Federation, and each basket you purchase helps African weavers to achieve financial stability.
Please be sure to view our current offering of baskets on our AFRICAN BASKETS page.
Modern baskets coming from Senegal often incorporate plastic strips. Craftswomen near a prayer mat factory in Dakar noticed that the factory was discarding end pieces, so they collected these components into their African basket weaving.
The use of plastic in African baskets adds durability and bold color. In fact, if you visit any open air market in Senegal, you'll find that almost all of the hampers and baskets are woven with plastic.
Weaving large hampers is no easy task. The Senegal baskets are woven using a coil stitch that involves wrapping the plastic over dried cattail stalks (grasses). Each African basket is built from the ground up, stacking one coil on top of another. Basket lids often feature a tapered design with a top knot. Large African baskets are woven by the most experienced Senegalese craftswomen who have been creating baskets for decades. A keen eye for design and detail, as well as shape symmetry, are important skills that a weaver develops over time. Many weavers learn the trade from family members.
Swahili Modern travels to Senegal at least twice a year to meet with our craftswomen and design new African baskets together. Some of our most successful designs have solid color baskets in white or earthtone colors. Lidded baskets and hampers are always popular and often used for laundry or sweater storage.
Our large African baskets can also be strictly for decor purposes. The baskets' natural coloration of grasses blends well with almost any decorating style. Combined with the design and color of your choice, the baskets add an African aesthetic to your home while also showing your support for fair trade in Senegal.
Thanks to the use of plastic, modern Senegal baskets are easy to clean. The baskets can be wiped down with a wet cloth and even reshaped if needed. Cattail stalks, used to weave the baskets, are thick, durable fibers that stand the test of time, even when dampened occasionally.
African baskets are becoming a common sight in many homes thanks to some great exposure through big brand stores like West Elm. Swahili Modern is happy to have introduced African hampers to these stores and American culture over our 20 years in business. We appreciate your support and hope you enjoy our selection of woven African baskets.