Thursday, July 16, 2015

It's time to bring back baskets

Mention baskets and someone will make an audible groan. The 1980s kind of did a number on the craft and left us with cringe-worthy memories of country cottages cram packed with baskets of every size and shape, and lots and lots of dried flowers. Case in point: the image below from an early '80s issue of Architectural Digest. Yes, agreed, it looks terribly dated now but it was fashionable. Just like neon, shoulder pads and George Michael's short shorts.


But the past is the past and there's no reason not to revive something that's so worthwhile, and which can look so fresh. There are beautiful examples made all around the globe, available in a range of colors and natural materials like wicker, rush, straw and willow. They're sustainable and surprisingly durable. And they're popping up in magazines like Lonny and House & Garden, where a single basket, a clean and simple statement piece, now adds a very contemporary touch. 

A well-made, handsome basket is like a grounding cord for a room; it's a little reminder of the natural world that seems to somehow dispel negativity with its sensible charm.

Elle Decor

Lonny

House & Garden

Below, a few of my favorite designs found online. Traditional or modern... I love them all. And do I have them in my own house? Yes, two: one a planter and the other a Fortnum & Mason picnic hamper that serves as storage for many of the antiques for sale in my webshop. See, practical! 

Straight-sided log baskets made by Irish artist Kathleen McCormick, who grows and harvests her own willow.

Fair trade African knitting basket from Connected Goods

Two-tone straw baskets from the French Connection

Soft rattan basket from Neptune

A selection of designs from the Norfolk Basket Company that were shown at the annual basket festival in Provence (where the English basket-making owners also have a gite).

The Balloon Log Basket made by the Somerset Willow Company (which I was lucky enough to visit many years ago -- a truly amazing place!) features leather trim and a linen lining.

Garden Trading's tapered rattan log basket which, even though it's the height of summer, has me daydreaming about fall, my favorite season.