The baskets that are woven by the Wounaan women are becoming famous among collectors. They are made entirely of plant materials, entirely by hand. The women harvest the leaves of particular palm trees that are native to the jungles of Darien, Panama. Through a lengthy and arduous process, they extract fibers from these leaves that they then dye. The dyes that the women use are also from plants that grow wild in the rainforest, as well as earth and woods.
After the fibers are prepared, the weaving begins. The women of the Wounaan and Embera tribes inherit this complicated art from their mothers and grandmothers.
When creating a basket, we give a lot of thought not only to the design and pattern of the basket, but also to the particular style of weaving. There is great variety in the designs of our traditional baskets: some designs are so ancient that no one can remember their origins. Others are the original innovations of the artist.
Each basket is a unique piece of art – no two in the world are exactly the same. They range in size and shape from flat plates to tall “vase” shaped baskets, and in size from 3 inches to 3 feet. A very large basket can take an artisan several years to complete. The weaving is so tight that the baskets can hold water.
An original Wounaan basket can bring a wonderful feeling of natural, handmade authenticity to your home. We offer you the opportunity to own an original piece of art, the product of years of work and thousands of years of tradition.
Our traditional woven baskets range in price from $35 for the most basic to several thousand dollars for the largest, most complicated. Most baskets are in the range of $50 to $300.