Colourful Mexican Woven Baskets

 

When I think of Mexico, visions of Corona’s on the beach, guacamole, endless fiestas and these brightly coloured plastic woven baskets come to mind. You see them everywhere on the streets and in the markets, filled to the brim with fresh produce, flowers, tortillas even chickens! To me, they are the epitome of Mexico – garishly bright and festive. So I was surprised to discover where they are produced: local prisons.

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A government initiative that began in the early 20th century, inmates were encouraged to use their time incarcerated to learn an artisan skill in order to make goods that would raise funds for the prison and provide a small (capped) income for the prisoners. It’s important to note here that the prison’s do not provide the materials, nor do they drive the business - they simply give permission for the prisoners to make some money.

The initiative provided inmates an opportunity to learn a new skill, have a sense of purpose and make a little cash for their family’s on the outside or for their own basic needs within confinement.

These brightly coloured baskets have become so popular (thanks to Italian label Marni’s “market bag”) that many the of inmates are now teaching their families the skill of basketry or once they’ve done their time they create a collective of basket weavers on the outside continuing to use this skill.

These versatile baskets can be used as a beach bag, a market bag or even a magazine holder to brighten up your home. Available in various sizes and designs.