In the spotlight today; the very talented Tabara, labasketry. She's a french entrepreneur who creates fashion accessories handwoven by female artisans from her native Senegal.
Where did the idea for La Basketry come from?
The idea behind La Basketry was born when I was on holiday in Senegal where I’m originally from. The region of Thies where my family is from is well-known for basket-weaving so it’s a craft I’ve been surrounded with my entire life.
Four years ago, I was at a turning point in my professional life as an event manager and felt like I wanted to do something more meaningful that would also connect me back to my Senegalese roots.
I initially set up La Basketry as an online shop working with a small group of female basket weavers on stylish homeware.
The brand has since evolved and is all about celebrating everything ‘woven’ still with baskets handwoven in Senegal but also fashion accessories, a craft book and basket-weaving kits.
When did you learn to weave yourself?
I learned on the ground in Senegal as I was trying to get a better understanding of the beautiful products the girls were weaving and then enrolled in courses back here in the UK and also in France.
Learning to weave baskets has really allowed me to reconnect with my hands - the tactile and physical nature of weaving, coupled with the rhythmic and repetitive technique are the perfect way to keep your mind and senses fully occupied.
Who are the other female artisans behind the baskets?
They are all mothers and they weave at the speed of the light as it’s a craft passed down from generation to generation in rural villages.
There’s something so beautifully unique when you walk into a courtyard and you see a group of women weaving together, laughing, kids running around.
How have you found lockdown & what have you learnt about yourself during this time?
I’ve really enjoyed lockdown! It’s been really nice to have more time at home with my other half. I’ve really enjoyed the slower pace, being able to do daily yoga classes, read and weave baskets.
Where are your baskets stocked?
We’ve previously sold our baskets at The V&A and at some lovely independent stores around the country but right now we’re solely selling via our online shop LaBasketry.com.
What do you love about your craft?
There’s nothing more beautiful than creating something with your hands, taking some time to work on a project and getting lost in it - I love the mindfulness behind crafting.
I’m very inspired by all types of craft as it’s always interesting to see how you can incorporate them into your work.
What’s next for La Basketry?
We’ve recently launched basket kits which have been a huge success so I’m going to be focused on them for the next few months - launching new ones while people spend more time at home.
Do you host basket making workshops?
Yes I do - I find so much joy in teaching people in real life - I’ve been really reluctant to doing anything online but it’s a no brainer now as I don’t really know when people will feel comfortable attending proper workshops again. I host all kinds of workshops - from making a colourful placemat to a mini-basket for a succulent!
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you travel?
I would go back to Paris - where I was born and raised - I was there mid-March and had to leave in a rush as they were closing the borders. I’m looking forward to going back - seeing my loved ones and Paris is dreamy in August as it’s deserted!
What is favourite best travel memory?
My sister and I went to to Cuba 4 years ago. It was such a beautiful trip and a real bonding experience - she’s 5 years older than me. We travelled all around Cuba, stayed with locals, hiked, partied in Trinidad and I came back with all the pretty baskets!
Best item you’ve picked on your travels?
I bring back a basket or a woven piece from all my travels. I’m really attached to a little woven hut I picked up in an artisanal village in Senegal 8-9 years ago. It’s perfect on a nightstand for jewellery actually or on top of a pile of books.
What’s your favourite piece from the ARTISAN collection?
The Round Weaving Necklace in gold is such a stunning piece that I’m basically wearing every day. It just beautifully captures the weaving technique while being classy and elegant!