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Meet the Maker- We caught up with Baskets author Tabara N'Diaye

6 Jun 2019 |

Author of Baskets and co-founder of La Basketry, Tabara N’Diaye has been inspired by basket-making from a very young age. We caught up with her to find out how it all started, what’s coming up next and any advice she has for new crafters setting out in the business world.


How did you first get into making baskets/who taught you?

I grew up with beautiful baskets all around the house - we’ve had them around the house either in Senegal where I’m originally from and where the craft has been celebrated for generations and back in France where I grew up - and I’ve always been obsessed with them. 

The first technique I played around with was ‘coiling’ back in Senegal with the lovely group of women I started working with for La Basketry 2 years. 

I continued to develop my skills after that and did a couple of courses to learn different techniques in London as it was important for me to try different techniques and find out what really suited me. 


What’s your favourite material to work with?

Choosing your favourite material is bit like choosing a favourite season - they are all special to me and they each have something to offer and are unique in every way. 

During Summer, I love working with ‘cane’ as it involves soaking it and I can make some basket bags that are a bit more structural. 

Twine is an all-rounder - as it’s a bit like knitting, it fits into a tote bag that I can carry around and play around with on a car drive or a train journey. 


If you weren’t crafting what would you be doing?

When I’m not crafting, I am focused on La Basketry - a business that I launched 2 years with my sister and that still excites me every day. I love developing new products with the artisans I work with, finding new shops that want to stock our products and continuing to develop the brand. 


How has La Basketry grown since you started, and has it changed at all?

It’s very exciting to be running a small business as it is constantly evolving. When my sister and I started it, we launched with a ‘capsule’ collection of 6-8 basket bowls. Our product range has significantly grown since and we’re humbled to work with more artisans and continue to champion handmade and craftsmanship. 

We’ve always seen La Basketry as a ‘homeware’ brand but these days we’re getting more and more requests to do more fashion-led products so we’re actively working on developing bags and accessories for women. 


How did the book come about? 

I was approached by my editor who was familiar with the work I’d been doing for La Basketry. We were both keen to do a modern basket-making book, with plenty of projects and inspiration for them and I could not have asked for a better final result. 


What’s next after the book?

Book-based workshops! It’s been really exciting to see people embrace basketry - I’ve had requests from the UK, the US and even Australia so I’m rolling out a series of workshops in London and hopefully in a few other UK cities to begin with. 

I am excited to continue to learn and grow La Basketry, develop the product range, incorporate more basket-making content online and start selling materials to make your own baskets. 

I also really love the conversation around crafting and wellbeing so this is something I really want to focus on in the near future. 


Do you have any words of advice for others who are starting out a new handmade business?

Do it! It’s a really exciting time for handmade products and crafting as more and more people are trying to take a step back from the digital world and reconnect with the ‘real world’, the Earth and their hands. 

Baskets by Tabara N'Diaye is available to purchase now in good bookshops, and online at Waterstones and Amazon.