We are obsessed by your collection and sharing it madly with one another on Instagram for most of summer! Tell us a bit about how La Basketry came to be?
Thank you so much! I initially launched La Basketry as an online boutique offering baskets and homeware accessories working with a group of (female) artisans in my native Senegal allowing me to connect with my roots as I was born and raised in Paris, France - I worked as an event manager throughout my twenties and was at a stage in my life where I wanted to do something more personal and meaningful when I started the business.
Over the past 3 plus years, the brand has grown and evolved to incorporate fashion accessories, a coffee table book and most recently Basket Kits encouraging crafters and non-crafters to try basket-making with fun and accessible projects.
You create the designs and they’re then produced by a group of female artisans in a village near your parents home in Senegal. Family, female power and community weave through your story – is that a main thread of your brand?
Absolutely! Community has always been at the heart of La Basketry. Community is what inspired me to start the business from connecting with a tight community of basket weavers, being welcomed with open arms by them, learning to weave with them and developing products with them!
How would you describe the beauty of Senegalese craft?
There’s so many beautiful crafts celebrated in Senegal, artisans working with wood, glass, textiles and obviously grasses to weave stunning baskets! Always vibrant and colourful with very intricate details. I’m just very proud to have build a platform showcasing Senegalese craftsmanship - basket-weaving is one craft that is passed down from generation to generation in rural villages.
You’ve spent lots of time in Senegal learning to weave yourself. Did having that hands-on know-how spark new ideas and change your approach to design in any way?
Absolutely! It was just very important for me to ‘weave’ to fully understand the products I wanted to create, what would work and what wouldn’t work and the different challenges we would face as a brand. If a design idea comes to mind, I can always start the ‘production’ process myself. It also makes you appreciate a product ten times more when you know your laundry basket has taken 7 days to be woven!
Your first book ‘Baskets’ was published in 2019. Tell us more about that.
I like to describe Baskets has a stylish guide to basket-making! It’s a beautiful coffee table book filled with projects to make your own baskets (basket bags, lampshade, plant pots and more…) using different materials and décor tips like how to make a great shelfie or how to create a basket wall. The book is modern, colourful, playful and honestly beautiful - I am so proud of the journey it’s been on – from my London apartment where I started writing it to now being available in 6 languages, it is so amazing!
Your range includes some kits for the avid craft lover to try. Why do you think it's important to get your craft on?
In a world where we are more and more connected, I think it’s so important to be mindful and to find some time for ourselves. Crafting is so meditative. It peacefully allows you to zone out and focus on the present moment while you work with your hands - simply forgetting about your phone and your to-do-list. We all need a bit more of that in our busy and hectic lives.
We totally love your fans and the hot colour contrasts. Do you have any favourites in your collection?
I’m a fan too! I love the fans - it’s so fun to work on this collection every year and I feel like every year, they get better and better! For this year’s collection, I was inspired by the colourful streets of East London during the lockdown. They are just the best summer accessory – fun and playful - they basically look like a giant ice cream -colourful and super effective! And my favourite design is the turquoise-orange - I just love that colour combination although you can’t go wrong with a classic black-white.
You’ve hosted lots of gorgeous woven workshops. What’s been your biggest take-home from those?
I love workshops - although I’m very much an introvert, I love connecting with people when running workshops in real life or most recently digitally. I always share this saying during my classes ‘Practise Makes Perfect’ just like with any other craft. I always encourage people to focus on loving the process rather than just the end result.
What’s next for La Basketry?
Sharing my passion for this craft with kits and workshops is bringing me a lot of joy right now so I’m going to focus on that for the rest of year. I don’t think they’ll be a full homeware collection launching until next Spring, until I’m able to go back to Senegal, but I have lots of ideas in my mind and then before I know it, there’ll be a new collection of fans to design!
Whose shoes would you like to spend a day in?
Serena Williams at a Wimbledon finale! I’m fascinated by a lot of athletes, their work ethics, mindset and how they deal with so much pressure and attention especially on the finale of a big tournament.
What’s your favourite Salt-Water style and why?
I mean - you can’t go wrong with the Original Tan! To me they are the perfect mix of nostalgia and ‘contemporary style’ plus they just go with everything. I do have my eyes on some slides through…