Tabara N’Diaye is 34 and co-founder of La Basketry. A platform to share Senegalese craftsmanship with the world . She lives in London, UK, with her partner.
What are you up to?
I’m in the process of launching Basket Kits. Each kit includes everything to make a project with video instructions—for example, a basket bag or a mini basket for plants. As people continue to spend more time at home, I think this will be a fantastic way to make basket-making fun and accessible to a bigger audience.
What does crafting mean to you?
Crafting has always been my escape from everyday life. I enjoy starting a lot of new projects and just take the time to try new things, work with new materials and keep myself engaged. I have really embraced ‘lockdown’ with a positive mindset; it has allowed me to focus on myself, my personal life and to find a better work-life balance.
How did you start La Basketry?
My sister and I connected with a group of female basket-weavers while we were on holiday in Senegal, where we are originally from. At that time, there were a few online shops selling Senegalese baskets, but we felt like we had a different angle as this is part of our heritage. It’s such a beautiful craft passed down from generation to generation in rural villages, and a wonderful way to reconnect with our roots.
So we launched La Basketry in 2017. Creating a platform to share Senegalese craftsmanship with the world and ensuring regular employment for the artisans we work with was, and still is, my greatest achievement.
How did you become a basket maker yourself?
Growing up, my brother, sister and I would spend our summers in Senegal and as I spent more time there, I began to learn how to weave baskets. I then enrolled in courses in Paris and London and played around with different techniques and materials.
Taking on a new craft such as basket-making requires a lot of practice and kindness toward yourself, as your first few attempts are not going to be perfect. I love how basket-making has allowed me to reconnect with my hands, to create something and be more mindful.
Want to read more?
- Take a look at Tabara’s website.
Interview Jeannette Jonker Photography provided by the interviewees