TECHNIQUE AND PROCESS
Palm or date leaf baskets are crafted by first drying, then slicing - with a blade and clipping with scissors – the leaves to the required size. They are then soaked in water for about fifteen minutes to make them more plastic and pliable.
The artisan selects a bunch of long rushes, grass or straw and holding the sheaf (about as thick as a small finger) deftly starts winding the sliced palm/date leaf strips over the straw, binding it in the process.
The basket centre begins to take a circular shape from the central core and is worked from the inside to the outer rim by increasing the ring into wider and wider circles, and raising the walls by pilling coil upon coil and fastening it at regular intervals.
The basket may have a tightly covered palm leaf covering around each coil or more widely spaced out strips of palm/ date leaves allowing the inner sheaf of rushes or straw to be visible. The spiral weave of the basket is held in place by interlacing the palm leaf strips between each layer, thus eliminating any extra binding or sewing together. Varnish is applied as the final step to finish the product.