The traditional African baskets designed by Batonga/ Binga women of the Batonga tribe situated in Zimbabwe, have become a unique home decor item in various homes at home and abroad. These baskets were originally used for winnowing grains.
In recent years, these exquisite baskets have become more well-liked as an alternative to conventional wall art for contemporary house design.
Most Batonga women use the conventional weaving methods known from time to time to make these baskets with elaborate patterns.
The baskets are made entirely of organic, locally obtained materials including wild grasses, tiny vines, and palm leaves that have been colored with tree bark. The Batonga/Binga people still utilize the largest-sized baskets for their original function of winnowing grains.
The Batonga baskets are woven in a circular design utilizing the over and under "basic" weaving method. A 16-inch-diameter basket can be made in about 3 days. A coiled rim with a characteristic herringbone pattern is used to finish the baskets.
Various basket weavers have joined in the lucrative trade of creating these beautiful baskets and some of them are from Namibia. The Namibian people create their baskets utilizing the same methods as the Binga/Batonga people.
They use similar materials, and design elements as Binga baskets. However, because these weavers use extremely thin pieces of palm to produce the baskets with beautiful patterns, the quality of their baskets is quite superior to the normal Binga baskets. Another distinguishing element of these baskets is that the rims are frequently decorated with a very detailed grid-like design.
The baskets are made from fronds of the Ilala Palm tree that have been dyed with tree bark, and they have a lovely geometric pattern in the center that spreads out into a circle. Also, the Batonga baskets are characterized by their flatness, whereas those made in Zambia and Namibia are more likely to be deeper and have a larger central square.
African baskets created today all have a distinct quality of their own and are now displayed as works of art on their own. They portray flexibility in design and craftsmanship unrestricted by the need to guarantee that their function is of the utmost significance. Additionally, these creators provide fresh designs, materials, and fascinating, inventive aesthetics showcased continuously in their works.
Recently, designers and cooperatives have worked together with some basket weavers on joint projects to produce amazing products.
Rural communities have been approached and encouraged to create art that has been displayed in museums and art collections in far-off places, where the task's competence is praised and respected. This is because it is well known that the craft of making baskets encourages thrilling inventiveness.
These collaborations are brought about by an agreement between various creative designers like Heath Nash, a South African lighting and creative designer, and the New Basket Workshop, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of rural women in the weaving countries of Africa.