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Harkiss Designs Baskets: Weaving Tradition into a Better Future (Part 1)

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The handcrafted baskets of East African women are a mainstay of the cultures of Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. They are also the foundation of the Harkiss Designs collection. The different profiles, designs and techniques that distinguish our basket lines are part of a rich, multigenerational tradition unique to specific East African communities.

Our Rwandan Peace Cathedral baskets http://harkissdesigns.com/product/nesting-agaseke-peace-baskets-set-of-5/, with their peaked lids and softly rounded bowls, represent centuries of skilled craftsmanship. The knowledge and skill required to produce them is the result of deep-rooted tradition passed from one generation to the next.

Each basket tells not only of the artistry of its maker but also the story of its pattern. Some Cathedral baskets bear the thousand hills design, a series of interlocking triangles representing the thousand hills of the countryside. Other baskets display a zigzag-style design that represents the progress of two friends along parallel pathways.

Our Njulu baskets from Uganda http://harkissdesigns.com/product/njulu-basket/ are both beautifully crafted and useful, just like the baskets used throughout the centuries by the Ugandan people. Made with sustainable materials like millet straw and raffia, generations have used these baskets for daily food preparation and serving. Our patterned baskets feature natural dyes made from plants the artisans grow themselves, just like those of their ancestors.

Baskets are deeply ingrained in the fiber of East African societies, used for gathering, making and serving food, as gifts and gift containers, and for transporting household goods. I am happy to be able to introduce such treasures to new markets, and I am even more pleased to help skilled artisans benefit economically from a wider exposure of their wares.

10% of every basket sold goes back to help a child in need: http://www.lendahanduganda.com/

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