Well… Basketry is the art/craft of basket making/weaving.


Since Ziveli is exposing you to a lot of basketry through our products, I thought I would write this blog on basketry to make you more aware about the art of basket weaving.

Basketry is made from a variety of fibrous or pliable materials – anything that will bend and form a shape.

We at Ziveli are currently using kauna reed, bamboo and banana fibre for our basketry.

Basketry is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of human civilization.

The oldest known baskets have been carbon dated to between 10K and 12K years old.

Baskets were indigenously used for storage, trading and different religious ceremonies, today they are also used as accessories and home decor.

Basketry is broadly classified into 4 types:

Coiled Basketry – using grasses and rushes. In coiled baskets a bundle of strands is stitched into a spiraling oval or round form with a thin flexible element.


Plaiting Basketry – using materials that are wide and braid-like: palms, coconut leaves, bamboo strips etc. In plaited baskets, the stakes and the weavers are identical materials. They are woven together at right angles in either diagonal, or horizontal and vertical orientation.

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(Weaver – these are the basket strands that weave through the spokes; they are lighter, thinner and more flexible than the spokes, to enable them to be woven in and out;

Spoke/Stake – these are the strands that stand upright and form the side supports of the basket; they are much stiffer than the weavers and are strong.)

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Twining Basketry – using materials from roots and tree barks. Twining actually refers to a weaving technique where two or more flexible weaving elements (weavers) cross each other as they wave through the stiffer radial spokes. In twined baskets, two or more flexible elements are used to encircle another base element. When two weavers are used, this technique is called pairing. When three or more elements or weavers are twisted, it is called waling.

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Wicker and Splint Basketry – using reed, cane, willow, oak, ash, etc.

Wicker baskets are usually woven together and have rigid stakes or spokes which create a wrap and more pliable elements which are woven in and out to form a weft.


Now coming to the parts of a basket: the base, the side walls, and the rim. A basket may also have a lid, handle or embellishments.

Most baskets begin with a base. The base can either be woven with reed or wood.

The ‘static’ pieces of the work are laid down first. In a round basket they are referred to as ‘spokes’; in other shapes they are called ‘stakes’ or ‘staves’. Then the ‘weavers’ are used to fill in the sides of the basket.

A wide variety of patterns can be made by changing the size, colour, or placement of a certain style of weave.

Generally under-and-over-weaving are commonly used.

Double weaving is another technique, where two weavers are used at once.

Pairing is another technique, where two weavers are started behind two succeeding spokes, and crossed between them, so that what was the under weaver become the upper weaver each time.

Triple twist is a technique, where three weavers are placed behind three consecutive spokes, starting with the back one over two and  one under one spoke, each on its way to be the back of the third spoke being laid over the other two weavers. In turning up the sides of large baskets where separate spokes or additional spokes have been inserted, or as a strong scrap basket, this weave is invaluable.




Now with all your knowledge on basketry you can make a knowledgeable choice at Ziveli.


Thank you for reading… 


To appreciate and encourage indigenous basketry, log on to:




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