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Nomadic Baskets from Northern Kenya

Jan 27

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1/27/2010 6:06 AM  RssIcon

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Laura Lemunyete just came through Nairobi on one of her brief trips. She showed me some of their new baskets and told me of their plans to make the modernized Camel Milk baskets from Ngurunit available online soon at nomadicbaskets.com. Their new label is called Nomadic Baskets and their logo is a stylized njili, which is part of the headwear the traditional Samburu and Rendille women wear. I have attached a photo of one of the women with the njili in her beaded headgear.

The efforts in Ngurunit now are focusing on quality control and design. The women have proven in the past years that they are able to produce new shapes and they continue to experiment. Making to order has been a challenge in the past and this is a critical step towards making the basket available in predictable sizes, shapes and with specific beaded adornments. At the moment, they are creating both beaded and non-beaded lines of baskets. An American Peace Corps Volunteer, Grover Ainsworth, has and will be working with the women and their baskets. These sales from these baskets still remain the sole income for most of the women involved.

If you want to read more about this remote group of women in Northern Kenya, you can go to my article Rendille Camel Milk Baskets, which is on this site. Also, Laura and I coauthored a more detailed article which was published in 2008. This article also covers customs surrounding the milk basket and details on the culture found in and around Ngurunit. The title is "Rendille/Samburu baskets of Northern Kenya; The revival of a dying craft" by Janice G Knausenberger and Laura Lemunyete. You will find the article in Kenya Past and Present, Issue 37, 2008, pages 49 – 54. Kenya Past and Present is the publication of the Kenya Museum Society. For more information, contact the Kenya Museum Society at info@KenyaMuseumSociety.org

Copyright ©2010 Janice Knausenberger

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