Basketry is one of the most enduring crafts in the world, its origins reaching back into antiquity (Kieffer, P.6, 2006). The profession of the wicker industry is characterized primarily as a women’s profession, where women are able to complete their work in their homes. Many women of different age groups are still proficient in various handicrafts of palm fronds and categorized as skilled craftsmen, which necessarily require precision in craftsmanship, as well as aesthetic taste. Those craftsmen are designers, they design the product according to the need, for example when They needed a broom to wipe the floor with, they used the palm leaves planted in the courtyards, and gathered all together and this concept was illustrated by Charlotte and Peter Fiell, in their book ‘’the story of Design’’.
Today, the endless array of materials available, coupled with innovative techniques, have inspired new approaches to basket making resulting in a diversity, that is been reflected in the beautiful crafted inspirations of the basket maker’s art, where some of them are highly functional, and the other are purely sculptural. Some well-known artists, playing a major role in that field, such as Leon Niehues. Using traditional materials and techniques and adding innovative ideas, methods of construction, and new and unique materials, ending with work that is more complex and more interesting objects. According to him “One reason I think my work is attractive to the viewer is because it is old and new at the same time”.
The Value of Craftsmanship Products:
Why is it important to adapt history and tradition to modern needs?
Before language was written or money minted, humans exchanged gifts. Gift-giving was one of the oldest and most basic of human behaviours. Crafted objects are frequently selected as gifts. Why do people tempt to select crafted objects especially when the travel and would like to bring back a souvenir? Crafts are normally found in our gift shops, museum shops or traditional festivals and craft fairs. It is because people buy and give craft motivated by some revealing reasons. First of all, from a scaled perspective: you are buying the spirit of the traditional craft that is specialized on that country.
‘’Every manmade object embodies the worldview from which it originates ‘’ Peter Korn, 2013
On the other hand, and from a client or customer perspective, I am not only buying the product itself, but also purchasing the effort of the farmer who planted the palm trees, the effort of the person who collects the leaves, clean, dry them and make them ready to be worked with, the effort of the women who works with the leaves to produce a uniqueness and inaccuracy product, and the effort of the seller and helping them all to turn a profit and a great outcome.
Examining craft as giftware allows to examine the variety of values and meanings assigned to the handcrafted object by contemporary society ( by makers, retailers, buyers and recipients alike.)
‘’ We don’t consume individual objects, we consume the social order that they belong to ‘’ Nathan Greenslit, 2013