Our skilled team at work on seagrass product bound for Australia
About Back to Baskets
Formerly known as "Import "Products" we first began working with our suppliers around the year 2000 developing new designs, sizes and colours. We believe in supporting fair trade and opportunity and women and disadvantaged groups particularly in rural locations.
Our Seagrass and Water hyacinth products are handcrafted at village level in Northern Vietnam allowing income into rural communities where employment opportunity is minimal. All our products are entirely natural and organic, grown eco-sustainably. Our baskets are made very strong, will last indefinitely and at the end of their useful life will break down organically in a few months. Our Jute products are supplied from India where it is harvested in rural areas then sent to local Jute mills for processing.
Seagrass is grown sustainably in fields and is harvested 3 times each year. The harvest begins once the grass has reached 2.5 metres in height. The evenness of the blades is essential for the production of all kinds of handiwork. The grass is air dried then spun into weaveable fibres. Due to the nature of the material and the construction, the baskets are strong and durable. For shipping some baskets are flattened and to return them to their original shape at any time they can be sprayed or soaked (prolonged soaking will not harm) to soften the fibres then pushing/pulling to reach desired shape. Then simply air dry and baskets are ready for use!
One of the fastest growing plants known, water hyacinth reproduces primarily by way of runners, which eventually form daughter plants. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds each year, and these seeds can remain viable for more than 28 years. The common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) are vigorous growers known to double their population in two weeks. Since the water hyacinths are so prolific, harvesting them for commercial use serves also as a means of environmental control. In the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam the water hyacinth's stems are used as a braiding material and a source of fibers. Strings of dried fibers are woven or interlinked together to form a braid or cord used for making bags, footwear, wreaths, hats, vases, Christmas lanterns, and more decorative materials. Dried stems are used for baskets and furniture. Water hyacinth fibers are used as a raw material for paper.
Water Hyacinth products can also be wet out and reshaped however although should not be soaked like sesgrass and as the fibre is thicker it will take longer to completely dry out.
In the case of both Seagrass and Water Hyacinth the best way to get baskets into shape is to use them.
Jute is a herbaceous plant and attains a height of approximately 3-4 metres and has a thickness of around 2 cm diameter. The leaves are a triangular blade of about 15 cm and 5 cm wide. Jute fibre is extracted from the phloem vessels of the plant which is located under the main stem. Jute requires a warm and humid climate while the soil needs to be alluvial or sandy clay and average rainfall required is 1000 mm. India is the largest producer of Jute and supplies more than 50% of the world’s jute. Generall sown March to May the Jute. After 90-100 days the plants attain desired height of 8-12 feet . The plants are cut by sickle close to the ground and the stems are made into bundles and left on the field for 3-4 days. These bundles are then steeped in water and the “retting” process begins where the jute fibres are loosened and separated from the woody stalk. These fibres are then washed thoroughly in clean water, dried in the sun and made into bundles ready for sending to Jute mills for manufacturing a variety of products such as hessian cloth, sacking cloth, yarn, carpet backing, bags, canvas, mats and floor coverings.