The baskets are produced in the IMADI workshop at Amitie III. This is the first time in the history of the baskets that they are produced in Dakar, and not Ngai. The weaving is done by six women employed directly. They finalise all the samples before we launch the samples in the village. Each village has their own speciality of basket shape. For the more complicated shapes, or those shapes not tried before, it is always done in our atelier where all the experimentation takes place. The leather is added in the same workshop.
Basket weaving in Senegal has existed since pre-colonial times (1600s). Weaving of some style, has always existed, but with the introduction of rice and up to now, the winnowing baskets known as ‘layu’ have existed to separate rice grains from the husks. The rice grains are pounded with pestle and mortar, and then with the ‘layu’ thrown into the air to separate the grains from the husks.
I have fond memories of my great grandmother using the layu for rice preparation and my grandmother using a plain version of the colourful basket below to shop at the market.