Wow, this was some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time! The lovely surface designer Elizabeth Olwen was in town, visiting from Canada, and instead of going out for a cup of coffee, she and I got to learn the rudiments of traditional imisi reeds basket weaving from the Du Noon Urban Weavers (via an initiative run by Binky Newman of Design Africa).
Three of the Du Noon Weavers – Victoria, Lindiwe and Victoria (yes, there were two Victorias and an Elizabeth in the room) – showed us how to soften the reeds and how to create an expanding spoked basket base, using Imisi reeds that they had harvested in the wetlands near Du Noon.
Elizabeth and I got the hang of it eventually, and it was quite a thrill to have created this little mini placemat in a couple of hours. If we’d had longer, we might have managed to create corners and to make a whole (mini) basket!
Elizabeth was crowned the imisi queen (elbowing both Victorias out of the way).
Thanks, Mama Victoria. I love my funny little placemat.