French Market Baskets
Genuine French-style market baskets, hand crafted in Morocco from natural palm fibre with strong Moroccan leather handles.
These baskets are genuine “French market baskets”, so called because, although made in Morocco, they are very popular in France – every self-respecting Frenchwoman has one for her market shopping. Morocco was a French Protectorate until its’ independence in 1956 but the first exchanges occurred between the two countries in the 8th Century so they have had a long association!
The baskets are hand woven by farming families in small villages of the Atlas Mountains by traditional methods passed down from generation to generation. They are woven from leaves of the date palm (Phoenix Dactylifera), which grows abundantly in the region.
After the baskets are woven, they are collected and brought to a more central location where they are finished off by hand. Each basket is unique, so minor variations in weaving and finish are to be expected and treasured. Enjoy the difference!
As well as being stylish and beautiful these baskets are renowned for being strong and hard-wearing. They are traditional work baskets in Morocco, being used for such things as donkey panniers and in tile factories for carrying heavy loads so don’t worry about loading up your basket – it can carry more than you can!
Each basket takes 3 to 8 hours to weave, depending on size and style. The palm leaves are woven into strips, which are then sewn together and the basket is built up in “rounds”.
When baskets are new they smell like hay and leather – some people say the smell reminds them of their horse! This “new” smell will wear off over time.
If properly cared for, your basket will last for a long time. If it gets dirty you can wash it in soapy water (but do not leave it in water for more than five minutes), allow it to drain and then hang it up to dry. Drying in the sun is especially good.
The basket is fine to use for wet clothing such as washing or swimming gear. Just be sure to let your basket dry thoroughly after it gets wet to prevent mould – being made of a natural fibre is does not like to remain wet.
Wetting it also allows you to reshape it if for any reason it loses its’ shape over time.
If the leather gets dirty, clean with a little leather soap but keep in mind that age adds character to your basket.