Design Award For African Baskets Sold In Chiswick

Artisanne was set up by two Bedford Park sisters

women weaving baskets in Senegal


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Bedford Park sisters Elizabeth de Vise-Craig and
Emma de Vise-Lewis have won Gold in the Smallish Design awards for African baskets. Their company, Artisanne, imports baskets from Senegal which are sale in Coco and Cassius on Turnham Green Terrace.

The sisters, who grew up on South Parade, took the award in the Interior Design category for their stackable toy baskets.

'We are very excited to have won Gold for our Toy Baskets. We worked hard to perfect the ideal designs and sizes and they were torture tested by our 5 children before the baskets were launched. It is wonderful to receive this recognition.’ Elizabeth said.

from Artisanne in Selegal
Elizabeth and Emma in Senegal

Artisanne handwoven toy baskets are produced by highly skilled women weavers in remote villages near Thiès in Senegal. Artisanne goes directly to the 70 weavers they work with.

The idea came about when Emma was living in Senegal and broached it with Elizabeth ,who went to visit. "At first, we visited local markets in the capital, Dakar, to buy baskets for our own homes, where we used them to store laundry, children’s toys and household knick-knacks. Stylish and unique, they also made great presents for friends and family."


The sisters decided to import the baskets back to the UK but had to do some hard work finding the weavers.This meant Emma travelling through the villages in the Thiès region down remote dirt tracks to spend time looking at collections of baskets and sharing bowls of curdled milk (a local speciality!) with villagers as she explained the project.

"We soon identified groups of artisans interested in working with us. The hours spent talking in the shade of a Nime tree involved much laughter and helped establish strong relationships and an understanding of the intricacies of their craft. A large Ali Baba basket, for example, takes several days to produce."

The baskets are woven from a local grass, ndiorokh, and long strips of plastic that are typically used for making bazin mats, similar to prayer mats. Weaving the plastic tightly and closely together ensures that the baskets are sturdy and long-lasting.

They first sold the baskets at Green Days in 2015 and they were so well received that it encouraged them to approach the shops. Zecca on Turnham Green Terrace was the first retailer to stock the baskets.

Elizabeth now lives on Newton Grove and her daughter is at school at Orchard House. Emma owns a flat on Dale Street which she is currently renting as she has recently moved to Kenya.

October 19, 2017

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