Posts tagged ‘baskets of africa’
We started Global Fayre early in 2007, and opened our store in Springfield, Missouri in the December of that year.
There have been many many rewarding aspects of having the store (and now the online store too) but one element that becomes increasingly important to us (and to our customers) is the closeness between the end purchaser and the producer. We may be many thousands of miles apart physically, but through the close contact we have, either directly with the producers or via our importers, our customers get a real understanding of the producers and their world.
Better still, our customers get to ask for custom products – a real revelation in these days of mass production where the producer and end consumer have never met, have no interaction and live in different worlds (in all senses).
One great example of this closeness is the recent delivery we took of market baskets from Ghana. Of course we get market baskets all the time, as do thousands of retailers (fair trade or not) throughout the USA. We know that our market baskets are a little different – we source through the same importer everytime (Basket of Africa), we know that Cael uses the same weavers all the time, and we see the direct impact of this in the wonderful quality of the baskets that they make. So, when we had some customers asking for a vegan version of a market basket (vegan meaning no leather handle or straps) we were confident we could oblige. What surprised us was how quickly it could happen. The first sample arrived in the spring, and our delivery today included a dozen of the same type.
Isn’t that awesome?!
We haven’t added them all to our site yet, but you can see the images on our facebook page.
We ‘ve already blogged a couplf of times about Ben (can you tell we’re excited about showing his work next month?)
So Cael, from Baskets of Africa, who has enabled us to plan this exhibit, has just found some more pictures of Ben.
We thought we would share them with you.
We’re thrilled to be hosting an exhibition of Ben’s work from July 3 to 31st, 2009 at Global Fayre in downtown Springfield, MO. THe exhibition has been made possible with the help of our friend Cael, at Baskets of Africa. ( a fellow member of the Fair Trade Federation)
Ben started weaving at the age of 28, in 2002. His previous job was as a bricklayer and he often had to leave his family for long periods of time to go to work on construction projects. He started weaving to earn an income and found that he thoroughly enjoyed it, experimenting with new designs, stitches and color combinations; he creates fascinating works of art.
His designs and colors are inspired from patterns he sees in things around him … it could be something as simple as a newspaper ad or a piece of clothing that gives him an idea.
Ben works very differently to the other weavers; rather than working to a prescribed pattern and shape, he is encouraged to create designs of his choosing, with his preferred size of bowl being 16 inches in diameter.
The exhibition will open during the First Friday Art Walk on July 3rd, from 6pm to 10pm.
Here are some of Ben’s beautiful creations:
We’ve often mentioned Cael from Baskets of Africa who is our main supplier of African baskets.
Cael got a great write-up in Crafts Report last month; you can download the whole article here. (note:it’s a large file)
We’ve always been partial to Binga Baskets from Zimbabwe, but they are a litle hard to source at the moment, so we’ve just taken delivery of some Tonga Baskets from Zambia as an alternative. They are similar in tone to the Binga Baskets, but much deeper (around 4 or 5 inches) and sturdier, and they have a cool square weave for the base. This image give you an idea, but we’ll post some more later on when we put them in our online store.
These baskets literally just arrived, so we’re a little lacking in informational material just now.
Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about them:
It takes approximately 2 weeks to complete a basket that’s about 35 cm in diameter. The baskets are made from the ilala palm (mapokwe in Tonga), which, although growing freely, is also planted by Tonga women for the purpose of basket making.Traditionally the baskets were (and still are) used for carrying maize or sorghum from the fields and then winnowing the grain. Traditional designs includes stripes, a spider web type pattern and a lightning pattern.
We’re getting an ever increasing range of baskets now, mostly from Africa. If you have a basket you are trying to find, or want to know more about, we’d love to hear from you, either on here, or via our main website, www.globalfayre.com
Suddenly realized today that one of our most popular items is not yet on the online store – how crazy is that?!
We carry a range of baskets sourced from Cael at Baskets of Africa (a fellow member of the Fair Trade Federation). The best sellers are the Bolga Market Baskets from Ghana. These baskets are traditionally used for carrying goods to and from the market. Weavers in the region use the abundant Veta vera grass to weave these incredibly hardy, useful baskets. The leather wrapped handle adds to the durability.
Went to add them and found that stocks are really low, so added just these three:
Every basket is unique, so selling them in the online store is going to be pretty labor intensive – but what great news for the weavers in Ghana….another outlet for their great work!
We added some of our beautiful Fair Trade telephone wire baskets to the Global Fayre online store today.
These are incredible, intricately designed baskets, some using accents of bare copper wire.
The past and the future are fused together in the creation of this beautiful basket, Zulu weavers have taken the intricate designs and incredible craftsmanship of their natural fiber baskets, and turned them into brightly-colored art from plastic-coated wire. Mesmerizing designs and vibrant colors are a hallmark of this functional art.
We’re looking forward to adding more when we get another shipment from our friend Cael at Baskets of Africa. Cael is a fellow member of the Fair Trade Federation and is focused exclusively on finding great baskets and giving his weavers a route to market. Here’s how Cael describes Baskets of Africa:
– We are a company that represents unique baskets from throughout the African continent. These one-of-a-kind pieces of functional artwork are woven only by local African craftspeople who share our commitment to top quality.
— We believe in promoting the weavers from various African nations in order to help the weavers (especially women) with economic development. We believe that by weaving baskets in a traditional manner, the weavers of Africa are preserving their cultural heritage and advancing themselves financially. We would like to support this endeavor throughout Africa.
— We are members of the Fair Trade Federation, an organization that shares our strong belief that indigenous people around the world should be compensated fairly for their amazing work.
— We always operate under a blanket of trust and respect with the weavers and craft co-ops we represent.
— We feel that our business offers the customer a win-win situation: by purchasing one of our rare finds, you are not only getting a wonderful, hand-made basket for your home or business, you are also contributing to the preservation of African culture and helping a tribesperson become financially independent. It’s a true economic partnership in every sense of the word.