A Cultural Craft
The craft of basket weaving has been a part of the Algarve region for centuries. The residents of this fishing town have used cane baskets of all sizes to transport the catch of the day for generations.
Our Straw Baskets are hand-woven by a group of elderly women that are keeping this cultural craft alive. Each basket takes between 3-6 hours to make depending on the complexity of the pattern and size. Let's take a closer look at the process:
The design of these baskets have mostly been around for centuries. But Helena, the lead designer, loves to experiment with new straw basket designs. One of her creations, the Sardinha Basket Bag combines the weaving techniques that have been used for centuries with a circular design on the side instead of the base. The raw cane and straw give the baskets a unique appeal without needing to manipulate the raw material much.
Maria Isabel is the lead Maker, a shy but wise 60 year old who learned the craft of basket weaving from her parents. The process requires hours of cutting and painstaking cane bending to create each basket. The crafting process requires little tools - a damp cloth, traditional knife (Maria prefers a wooden handle) and a cloth to protect drape over her lap which allows Maria Isabel to weave in her terrace or attic, she likes to leave that decision up to the weather.
The cane and palms our baskets are made with are abundant along the water lines that surround the Algarve region. Maria harvests the cane she uses from a river 15 km from her home. She collects the materials from the margins of the small river and weaves the baskets when the cane is still green. Once the weaving process is complete, she lets them dry in a shaded area.