Wickerwork from Sardinia: hands, plants, and beauty

Cesto piatto; cesto, ordito in fieno marino e tessitura in rafia, anni Settanta XX sec., collezione Isola, Sassari

A sinistra, cesto piatto; a destra, cesto, ordito in fieno marino e tessitura in rafia, anni Settanta XX sec., collezione Isola, Sassari

Baskets, hats, sifters, jewel boxes, bottle covers, chairs, floor mats… Sardinia’s wickerwork represents an ancient, traditional craft that had a crucial role in the island’s history and culture. Once passed on from generation to generation – usually the prerogative of women, who made wicker items by hand, mainly for their families or neighbors – this art is about to die out.

Although traditional wickerwork granted success to some noteworthy companies in the region, today foreign competitors and mechanical methods – now popular throughout the territory – are quickly turning authentic hand-made items into a rarity. The crisis is also exacerbated by the difficulties in sourcing materials – taken from plants that are now either scarce or strictly protected for environmental reasons. Last but not least: these gorgeous objects were once used to make bread at home or work in the fields, while in our modern lifestyle they are merely decorative accents.

Here is a selection of beautiful wickerwork objects – most of them baskets – made in the 20th century.

 

Photos via: Vv. Aa., “Intrecci. Storia, linguaggio e innovazione in Sardegna”, Fondazione Banco di Sardegna, Ilisso Edizioni, Nuoro 2011

July 7, 2014

Wickerwork from Sardinia: hands, plants, and beauty