Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Water hyacinth is reviled as an "invasive nuisance" and "one of the worst invasive species in the world." But water hyacinth is being turned into some nice baskets - and if there was ever a renewable resource to use for making stuff, it's the water hyacinth!
It's pretty easy to find them; these baskets come from Cost Plus World Market (always a nice place to look for baskets of all sorts). Update on August 29, 2010: Cost Plus no longer has these specific water hyacinth baskets, but it does have other ones.
And you can also find them sold in some museum shops. Update on August 29, 2010: The museum shop that sold this basket no longer carries it.
A Greater Gift sells these baskets with bamboo rims. Update on August 29, 2010: A Greater Gift is gone, and I'm not finding these baskets anywhere else.
Moving over to Australia, OZ Design Furniture has a few water hyacinth baskets and bins. Update on October 15, 2012: OZ Design Furniture no longer sells these baskets.
There are lots of nice options in the UK; this one comes from Mamas & Papas. Update on October 15, 2012: I'm no longer finding this product.
John Lewis sells water hyacinth storage boxes, trunks, and this double linen basket.
Terracotta Spice also sells water hyacinth linen baskets - with seagrass edging and a metal frame. Update on August 29, 2010: I don't see this basket any more.
Zara Home has these rectangular baskets in three sizes, as well as a napkin basket. Update on August 29, 2010: Zara Home no longer has these baskets.
And Ethical Superstore has these baskets made in Vietnam by Mai Handicrafts, which "aims to find work for neglected families by selling Vietnamese Handicraft products to local and export markets, to customers that care about a fair wage & working conditions." Update on August 29, 2010: Ethical Superstore no longer has these baskets.
Finally, moving on to Germany, Dekolust Geschenkartikel sells these baskets for newspapers or umbrellas, as well as laundry baskets and planter baskets. Update on June 25, 2012: These products have disappeared from that web site.
Baskets made by African artisans
Tiny Little Baskets
Two Beautiful Blue Baskets
Baskets: Storage Can Be Beautiful
[Water hyacinth photo from CALFED Bay-Delta Program]