Adding Texture With an African Basket Wall

May 7, 2019

Adding Texture With an African Basket Wall

May 7, 2019

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I am late to the game, but I just fell in love with basket wall art decor. I can’t wait to create a basket wall in our living room, especially since it’s the perfect way to display personal art using a collection of baskets from our travels. More on that in a minute. Now that I’m scouring Instagram for some installation ideas, I see that folks are really creative with their basket walls. Talk about adding instant texture to your space! This is the answer to my living room art question. I have the perfect spot mapped out:

Future basket wall location mockup

Here are some beautiful basket walls for inspiration. Check out this wall, this wall, and this wall. Wow! Pinterest is also filled with great ideas.

When in Namibia, Plan to Pack Baskets

Part of the reason I love this project is that I already have some beautiful baskets. Back in 2004, I volunteered as an English teacher in Namibia with WorldTeach. It was an awesome experience, and I left with great memories, friendships, and some local art, including baskets!

This red and white basket combines all of the above. It was a wedding gift to a friend and teaching colleague of mine, and it’s actually woven from plastic bags! When Wyatt and I trekked back to Namibia in 2012 and I introduced Anna to my new husband, she pulled this off the wall and presented it us. I’m not doing this honor justice with my words, but it’s one of our most treasured wedding gifts.

Red and white wedding gift basket

Since the Owambo people of northern Namibia are locally known for their basketry, it’s not uncommon to see a roadside stand – of sorts. Notice the sticks below. They sure lured us right in with these massive baskets and local prices. Our most prized piece was this giant lidded basket. We just handed the seller twice the asking price and asked to take some photos; everyone left happy that day.

Roadside basket shopping in Namibia
Namibian roadside basket shopping

The biggest challenge was getting it home. We took a shot at wrapping it in a trash bag (as a theft deterrent) and checked it with the airline. Considering bags are ROUTINELY lost or “lightened” in Johannesburg, we didn’t have high hopes of seeing it again. To our amazement, it arrived back in Seattle in one piece!

Wyatt holding trash-bag-wrapped large basket at airport
Where have all the *NSYNC shirts gone?

That’s the fun backstory to this one-of-a-kind basket. Obviously, it’s not going on the basket wall, but it’s probably our best souvenir story. Right now it’s housing a blanket collection.

Large Namibian lidded basket

Building a Basket Wall Collection

We also bought some beautiful baskets from other crafters. I’ve re-purposed them over the years as mail or key holders, but now I have a new mission. So far, this is our possible basket wall inventory:

African basket collection

Since I don’t have enough of the shallow baskets to make a my ideal statement basket wall, I’ve been searching for additional pieces. I checked a few thrift stores, but I haven’t actually found anything yet. I’ll probably keep looking, but in the meantime, I stumbled across this Etsy shop based in Windhoek, Namibia. They sell a beautiful collection of work in sets of 1, 3, or 5 baskets. Their pricing of 5 baskets for roughly $110 is completely reasonable, based on what I’ve paid artisans directly for their work. From the very little I know, I can see that these are woven by different tribes, and I only recognize the Owambo style that matches my original baskets. They will coordinate beautifully, and I’m more than happy to support a local (to Namibia) business. How cool that Etsy makes this possible!

Next, I need to figure out how to hang my collection without damaging the baskets.
Stay tuned. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

To read more about my living room decor-in-process, check out this post, An Ikea Karlstad Couch Cover Saves the Day!

Erin

Hi! I’m Erin, a Colorado-based home improvement blogger and lover of all things DIY. I aim to inspire creative folks to tackle home improvement with confidence and style. Read more here

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