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Woven wall baskets add a unique design aesthetic to the home. Because many African baskets are woven from grass, the baskets contribute an earthy element that complements nearly any style of decor.
Zambian baskets are often what comes to mind when people think of African wall baskets. Makenge baskets, made by weaving the root of the makenge plant, often feature a shallow design. In Zambia, the shallow baskets were used to winnow grain and serve dry food. In the US, these baskets are ideal for hanging on the wall.
Woven wall baskets are gaining in popularity due to some great attention on Pinterest and design forums. In 2015, Swahili Modern came into a large collection of antique Zambian wedding baskets and we publicized the baskets across social media. Since then, we have received a great deal of traffic from shoppers searching for our African baskets, and we have sold hundred of makenge wall baskets.
Zambian wedding baskets are created to be handed down to new brides. Over time as everyday damage occurs, the baskets are mended with a lighter color root fiber. Talented African weavers use this opportunity to create elaborate designs on the baskets (as pictured left).
As makenge wall baskets become more in demand, we hope to acquire more, though modern Zambian baskets are often more plain in design than their antique counterparts. This simpler basket design is due to the fact that modern baskets are created for sale whereas the mended, decorative wedding baskets were created to be used in everyday life.
Another style of African wall basket comes to us from Senegal, where shallow "grain" baskets are created using natural grasses and plastic strips. These durable woven baskets have similar application to Zambian baskets in that they are often used to serve food and hold daily household items.
Both style of wall baskets are incredibly durable. The Zambian baskets are long-lasting thanks to the tough root of the makenge plant while the Senegal baskets can last for decades because of the inclusion of manmade materials. Which style basket you prefer is largely a matter of personal taste: the Zambian wall baskets offer natural beauty while the Senegal wall baskets offer bold color. Whichever style you choose, we suggest combining the baskets to achieve the best design effect.
Wall baskets from Senegal can be designed in every color of the rainbow. Historically, simple patterns and color schemes have been our best sellers. Decorating your home with solid color wall African baskets, each in a different color, can be a wonderful way to introduce vibrancy into your home. African wall baskets can be used to decorate children's rooms, kitchens, bedroom, and of course living rooms.
Single wall baskets are often used to create a focal point in a busy room or wall. Like artwork, we recommend hanging your wall basket at eye level. Over time, your African baskets may gather dust. To clean a basket, simple wipe it down with a damp cloth. Doing so will keep your baskets as vibrant and colorful as they day they were woven.
Another tip for your African wall baskets involves fishing line. Over the years, we've tried many methods of hanging baskets and have found that looping a small amount of clear fishing line through a back coil of a basket creates an ideal method of hanging. For wall baskets that hang flush, use less fishing line. For wall baskets that tilt downwards towards the viewer, use enough fishing line to create a 2" loop. Hang the line on a small nail and adjust accordingly.
Using fishing line to hang your wall baskets also grants you freedom to move the baskets without causing damage to your walls. We have found that they smallest nails are acceptable to use as the baskets are not heavy.
Raffia baskets from Uganda are another popular wall basket style from Africa. These all-natural baskets are woven using banana palm leaf stalks and raffia strips dyed with natural plant dyes. In Africa, the baskets are used for harvest, storage and serving of food. Raffia wall baskets vary widely in pattern as each is created according to the available dyes and mood of the weaver.
Most raffia baskets feature earth tone colors such as brown, rust, beige, and navy. These colors are the result of plant dyes that are used while weaving.
Like other traditional African baskets, raffia baskets from Uganda are are traditionally used for gift-giving at special occasions or holidays.
Please be sure to check out our selection of African baskets to find the perfect basket for your every wall of your home.