Happy New Year!
I hope 2014 is a happy, healthy and prosperous one for you all.
To kick off the new year I thought I would start with a blog post on one of our new suppliers, Gone Rural, a social enterprise based in Swaziland producing beautiful baskets. Our Gone Rural baskets were inspired by one of the families working with Gone Rural. Gogo (grandmother) Christina, her daughter Siphiwe and her granddaughter Bonakele all work with traditional materials and techniques passed down from generation to generation to support their families. Gone Rural has taken an age-old craft, handed down from mother to daughter over generations and introduced innovative new weaving techniques, new materials and colours to create eye-catching, intricately constructed, modern baskets. From the Gogo Christina open and large ribbed baskets, to the two tone block weave Bonakele baskets and the tactile black fabric and copper wire trays, all of which can be seen here, each handcrafted piece is visually stunning, providing versatile, contemporary storage solutions for the home and a sustainable income for Swazi women.
Gone Rural is a social enterprise, founded in the 1970s, which works with over 800 women artisans in 13 groups across Swaziland, from young women to gogos. The women are self-employed and are provided with home-based work, enabling them to earn a sustainable income whilst still allowing them to carry out traditional duties and care for their families.
All materials used to create the baskets are renewable, with the signature lutindzi grass (which is indigenous to Swaziland) sustainably harvested. Waste material from local textile mills is also used in some designs, such as the black and copper trays below, with the fabric strips wrapped around the grass to add another texture and interest to the baskets.
Purchases help support Gone Rural boMake (meaning women) a not-for-profit organisation providing health, education and empowerment programmes in Swaziland.