It all started when we spotted a beautifully-made basket in Blantyre Market and asked the owner of the stall, Mr. Bigna, who had made it. He made a call to the artisan and together we travelled to his village, where three weavers were waiting for us under a mango tree!
Mango club was born and it now has 35 artisan members, with a chairman, secretary and treasurer. Following high-profile collaborations with internationally-known designers Rentaro Nishimura and Donna Wilson their products are sought-after worldwide.
The art of basketry was born out of the need to contain or carry everything from water to mice and around the world different forms and techniques of basket making evolved, depending on the materials available. Today the art is threatened by the manufacture of metal and plastic containers, so artisans like the Mango Club need to revive their craft with new, utilitarian products suitable for modern living.