At travelling Basket we're all about living with crafts. We began our journey in 2013 with a chance encounter with our first makers. Today we are thrilled to be able to say that we now work with over 18 makers groups (some working as individuals and others with a group, organization or company) from many wonderful countries including Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Scotland, England and Nepal. Each of our groups have something different to offer be it a skill, material or technique. What they all have in common is tradition combined with a fierce hunger for innovation and passion for their craft, all of which has ensured that their products, the love for them and the purpose have endured. It has been one of the greatest gifts to be able to travel and learn from our makers and we hope you enjoy the fruits of those journeys.
Baskets are truly wonderful home and lifestyle products, by far the most practical, versatile and in many ways enduring. The traditions of basketry go back thousands of years and basket weaving is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization. Here are a few tips to looking after your baskets to ensure that you enjoy your collection for many years.
Firstly it is important to remember that baskets are designed to be used: their very nature is that of purpose and practicality, paired with quality design, the very best materials and skilled craftsmanship our baskets will last a very long time. You can prolong your baskets life by following these simple steps to ensure longevity.
Avoid direct sunlight and store away from heat sources: Keeping your baskets away from any source of direct heat such as wood stoves, fireplaces, radiators, and/or leaving them in direct sunlight will ensure that the willow doesn't dry out and loose it rigidity. Intense (direct) heat and ultraviolet rays from the sun may cause fading and bleaching in addition to drying the fibers out prematurely, which can make them brittle. Some direct heat is of course inevitable (log baskets and picnic baskets for example are unavoidably exposed) the trick is to not over do it and to monitor the state of your baskets.
Maintaining a healthy moisture content (not to be confused with dampness): A simple way to combat a known heat source such as a log fire (which is usually right next to your log basket) is to schedule a monthly bath day for your baskets or mist them every so often to maintain a healthy moisture level. Bathing or hosing down baskets is really very simply. Give them a good soaking with cool or cold water, avoid using any soaps, if there is some built up dirt use a coarse scrubbing brush. Do be careful to observe the pressure of scrubbing as this may strip any bark (the coloured skin) if you scrub too hard. Soaking a basket in water or giving it a thorough “shower” can result in swelling of the fibers so this should be a fairly quick process in and out of the water. Once washed down leave outside, ideally in a windy spot but not in direct sunlight and allow to air dry. You will know when your basket has absorbed a healthy amount of water as it will give off a very pleasant olive wood smell. Never leave you basket standing in water or the bath.
Keep baskets away from grease: Try not to keep baskets above your cooking area as fat is in the air there and will cling to the baskets. This is not impossible to remove but a little more effort is involved than simply hosing them down. If you do end up with fat or grease on your basket (for example if you have picnics and/ or children this is very likely and is not the end of the world!), simply sponge clean regularly with a natural soap. We would recommend an olive oil based soap like Savon de Marseille. Follow the instructions above for cleaning.
We recommend maintain the intended use for your baskets: Whilst of course it's not the end of the world if you suddenly change the use of your basket, all our baskets are designed with particular uses in mind. More problematic however might be suddenly making all your blankets smell like onions if you started using your vegetable basket for storing linen and blankets in. This is of course your choice and if a basket has taken on a scent of its previous use then follow the instructions above to bath them clean. In this case we would recommend using a very lightly scented Savon de Marseille.
Good practice basket care: We do not want you to worry about your baskets, they are well made and designed to be used but following some basic good practice guidelines will ensure longevity. It’s best to handle your baskets with clean hands; free of lotion, oil or grease of any kind. Fatty oils and high humidity can cause slight damage by causing stains, mold, and mildew. Avoiding this will save you from unnecessarily having to clean your baskets.
If a basket is fully loaded, particularly with something like a vegetable harvest which can be very heavy, always pick up baskets by supporting the bottom as well, unless of course it is a log basket or heavy duty model (this is specified in the product descriptions).
Cleaning your baskets: A feather duster or a clean, dry natural bristle paintbrush is the best way to remove dust from a basket when doing your general cleaning rounds. Alternatively you can use the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner to remove any build up of dust. For deep cleaning, follow the instructions above on how to bath your baskets.
Giving your basket some TLC: All baskets will eventually show signs of use, that's their life story and their unique patina and is all part of what makes baskets so wonderful to live with. It is nice however from time to time to give them a little face lift as you would furniture and walls. Follow the instructions above to clean and air dry, leave a day of two to ensure that its properly dry and then using a natural cotton rag (old cotton nappies are fabulous for this) rub on some oil lightly following the direction of the willow. Pay attention to the direction of the growth: you will notice small buds on the willow stems (these would have become leaves and new shoots if it were still growing) these once dried can be a little sharp so rub in the direction of the growth not against it to avoid splinters. You can use a simple mineral oil (the same as you would for your wooden plates and bowls) but equally a little good quality olive oil does the trick. Avoid vegetable oils as they can go rancid and sticky over time.
Travelling Basket offers the largest selection of Ceramika Artystyczna Polish Pottery in Scotland providing you with a hand picked collection of these stunning hand painted pieces to choose from. Our producers reflect the finest tradition of the region’s craft is the Artistic Ceramics collection, operating since 1950 and producing over 1000 forms and 2500 unique patterns. Each of their artisans undergoes two years of training before becoming a decorative artist. If you have chosen items from the UNIKAT (unique) collection all UNIKAT pieces are initialed by the decorative artist on the base as well as the factories trademark stamp.
All our Polish Pottery tableware is dishwasher, microwave, freezer and oven safe and we stock only the certified premium grade ceramics.
Our online shop offers you the chance to browse our unique collection at your leisure with simple, safe online purchasing available. We stock only original, locally manufactured products of the highest quality from the Bolesławiec city and the surrounding Lower Silesia area. All our suppliers are verified producers who continue the tradition of making ceramics derived from the nineteenth century.
All our plates and bowls are hand thrown, other pieces are shaped with the use of moulds which must be frequently replaced. Trained mould makers undertake this work. Very high quality glazes are used to decorate the pottery and are either stamped and/or painted onto the pottery before it is fired. Each artist cuts their own patterns from a dense inner core of natural sea sponges, traditionally these would have been cut from potato.
Each piece is glazed and fired twice at temperature in excess of 1250°C classifying it as stoneware rather than earthenware. Stoneware is much more durable than earthenware and is chip resistant. All our pottery is lead and cadmium free.
To ensure your pottery is produced by our certified producers look for one of the trademarks shown below, each and every piece made in the factories is stamped to ensure quality and authenticity.
Like anything, wooden utensils if looked after properly can last a very long time. We've put together some simple steps to ensure you get the most our of your wooden product. Follow these basic rules and you should be able to enjoy your wooden utensils for a long time - We've even inherited wooden bowls and spoons that still look and work beautifully. Wood adds a soothing natural element to your home environment and has countless wonderful properties (and has absolutely no plastic anywhere near it!) so it's well worth looking after the pieces that you own.
Cleansing: Hand washing is the best way to care for your woodenware. Never soak them in water for too long to prevent splitting or cracking as they dry. Use warm water and mild soap to wash the surface. Avoid metal or harsh scrubbers and use a soft scourer or scrubbing brush instead. This will cleanse the exterior without subjecting the wood to elements that will destroy the material. Never put wood items in the dishwasher.
Sanitizing: This is done to optimize the functionality of your woodenware by removing any impurities from the grain and also helping to improve the taste and smell of the food inside. Sanitizing wooden bowls and wood utensils helps to control bacteria. Whilst some woods do have naturally occurring residual antibacterial properties as we use some woodenware for raw foods and meat its always best to follow this simple step. Mix 1 part white vinegar with 5 parts water, wet the bowl thoroughly and allow the solution to do its job for several minutes. Rinse the bowl with warm water and let it air dry. Or fill a spray bottle with a 50-50 mix of white vinegar and water, and spritz as needed, wiping off the excess with a clean towel. If you don't have vinegar handy or don't like working with it then lemons do the same job. Lemon juice is a well known antibacterial agent. Simply cut a lemon in half and run over the surfaces to be sanitized. Allow to season and rinse off.
Damage repair: If your woodenware starts to feel fuzzy to the touch, this means the grains of the wood are raised and will benefit from a little sanding by hand. Interestingly when making wooden kitchen utensils (which are often exposed to moisture and steam) throughout the making process makers intermittently steam the piece between sanding to ensure that the grain is over raised so that they can achieve the smoothest touch. Use a soft grade sandpaper and rub the damaged area lightly until smooth, making sure to sand in the direction of the grain. Wash to remove any dust and allow to air dry slowly. Don't forget to season your bowl after sanding.
Mineral oil: The pure mineral oil allows the oils to penetrate into the wood, providing protection, retaining the wood's natural colour and character, and prolonging the life of your woodenware. This is a very quick and easy step and can even be done to spruce up a bowl before a party or event. Mineral oil is clear, tasteless, odorless and food safe. Use your fingers and following the direction of the grain as much as possible rub in the oil. Allow to sit and use only when dry to touch.
Avoid direct sunlight: Another enemy of woodenware is direct sunlight. This can age the bowl prematurely, discolouring and drying it of its natural oils. Store bowls in a cool and dark place in a pantry or on a shelf to ensure longevity.
Our brushes give "handmade" a new meaning. In the late 1900s a small brush manufacturing company started out in Stockholm. It was a successful movement and remains today very much as it was then. Every brush is made by hand by visually impaired craftsmen bringing a new dimension to the concept of sensitively made by hand. All our brushes are of exceptionally high quality and made almost entirely from natural materials.
We want our handmade brushes to continue being a joy to use for a long time to come. With a little simple care, they will age beautifully. As one of the most essential tools in the cleaning box, it’s imperative that brushes are properly looked after in order to perform to their highest potential. Over time, taking care of your brushes be it a scrubbing brush, dish brush or bath brush can save you time and money, and good quality brushes, such as those in our natural kitchen and bathroom collections can last a long time if treated well. Follow these simple rules and make the most of your natural bushes worry free.
Clean your brushes thoroughly and properly after each use: clean your brushes well, using a little natural soap after each use and rubbing it gently in the palm of your hand will remove any residual dirt, oils or food trapped in the bristles (depending of course what brush it is that you are cleaning).
Know what to avoid: each of our brushes has been designed and made with materials specifically chosen because of their properties to perform in a certain way. Using the wrong brushes for the wrong task can reduce their lifespan. This is of course up to you but we recommend using brushes for like uses (for example is it designed to get wet or is it designed to primarily work dry). Consider this when deciding on their uses as we appreciate that some people have preferences for shapes and style when it comes to brushes. Remember that oak handles are the hardest wearing and therefor good for wet working brushes.
Reshape, dry and store properly: It is important with all brushes to remove excess water, dry ferrules and handles after use. This will ensure that the brush dries quickly maintaining the condition of the wooden handles. Reshape brush heads and bristles after use. If it is a sturdier brush like a scrubbing brush or washing up brush a handy trick to straighten bristles after some hard scrubbing work is to use a fork to rake through the bristles and realign them. Stand the brush on the bristles to allow any residual water to drain out of the head. If the brush has softer bristles like the bath brush then hang it up or stand it on a towel so as to allow the water to drain away. If you notice a stain in your bristles, don’t worry as this has no effect on the performance or life of the bristles and could even be linked to the water or products that you are using. When it comes to storage, you should place the brushes in a pot or jar with the bristles facing upward, only storing them away when they are completely dry. Brushes that are not dry when stored in a sealed area/ or box may develop mildew.
Oil treatment: After cleaning and drying your brushes from time to time it is a good idea to oil the wood. We recommend a food grade mineral oil or boiled cold pressed linseed oil. Using your fingers, rub a small amount into the wooden handles, avoiding the bristles. Allow to sink in before next use.
Bassine: Borassus Flabellimormis otherwise known as the sago palm grows in the East Indies. The process of threshing the dried palm leaves releases the leaf fibers, brownish in color and characteristically softer and more fragile than other piassavas. Bassine from Sir Lanka is a more rigid type of Bassine.
Coconut fiber: The tough fiber ropes of the coconut (Cocos Nusifera) beard is soaked in water for a month, the ropes are agitated to reduce the processing time. After dying, the fiber is dressed and sorted resulting in a soft and not particularly elastic material. Most commonly used in brooms and in mixtures with other plant fibers.
Goat hair: Goat hair is clipped from the breast of the animal, where soft and springy hair is found. Preparation involves washing and combing resulting in an incredibly soft fiber often used for face brushes, dusting brushes and certain types of delicate cleaners.
Piassava: The African piassava (Riphia Renefern), is extracted from the stalks of palm species which grow in the swamp areas of West Africa. During preparation, the stalks are steeped in water where they rot after which fleshy parts of the leaves are removed. The stalks are then dried in the sun and threshed by hand with flails and flax-combs. The African piassava is light brown or reddish brown color. The length of the stalks vary, as does their stiffness and elasticity. The African piassava is used mainly for brooms and brushes.
The Bahian-piassava is obtained from the leaf of the Attaléa palm. The leaf is enclosed in a casing which separates when the leaf is fully developed. The casing if left hanging on the trunk and after some time only the dark brown fibers remain. The fibers are allowed to rot after which long fibers between one and four meters long are dried in the sun and sorted. The Bahia piassava grows in the Brazilian province Bahia and is an excellent material for road brushes and scrubbing brushes as it is tough and elastic.
Madagascan piassava comes from the leaf fiber of the Bonitra palm, Raphia Pendunenlata. The raw material is dark brown in color and is characterised by it's elasticity and durability, often used for yard brooms, mattresses and upholstery brushes.
Cereal root: Harvested from the root of the zacaton grass, which grows on the high plateau of Mexico. These roots are cut from the plant, washed clean from soil and transported to a preparation factory. Cereal root is a tough, elastic and very water-resistant material and is most commonly used for vegetable brushes and washing-up brushes.
Horse hair: Horse hair is divided into different categories: hair from the tail, which is strong and elastic; hair from the mane, which is soft but has poor elasticity. The hair is cut directly from the animal (very much as we would shear sheep) as hair from dead animals lacks lustre and elasticity. Horse hair must undergo preparation before it is ready to be used as a material for brushes. The process involves washing, combing, boiling, drying, making into trusses and, usually, dyeing. From one horse, approximately 5-6 hectograms of hair per year can be obtained. Horse hair is used for softer brooms, bath brushes, washing-up brushes, pastry brushes and shoe brushes.
Union mixture: A mixture of white fiber and bassine. It is a strong and water-resistant mixture which is used for vegetable brushes, deck brushes and scrubbing brushes.
White fibres: White fiber, Mexican fiber or Tampico is extracted from the leaves of certain species of Agave (Agaves Sisalana, Agave Foreyodes) which grow in Mexico. The fleshy leaf of the Agave plant is cut off and threshed to release the fibers. The natural colour varies from green to yellowish-white, black, brown and grey. The material is used extensively for making nail brushes and bath brushes.
Using Soft Concrete: Soft Concrete is a unique material by adding a small addition of polymer (plastic) it becomes three times as elastic as normal concrete. Soft Concrete is not so soft that it can be bent, it's still a stone material but it has a pleasant feeling to it. It feels warm, soft and comfortable. It contains no environmentally harmful substances. Soft Concrete is cast of a relatively viscous mass that causes the surface to receive a varying smoothness. Each pour has a slight color variation and contributes to the unique vibrant impression that each piece gives. The best way to clean this material is with detergent, a soft dish brush in horsehair and tepid water, then wipe dry with a dish towel and allow to air for a little.
We believe that living with natural textiles is best for you and for our planet. All our textiles and woollens are 100% natural, sustainably sourced and fairly traded and where possible made using organic materials or yarn and skins from our free range mountain sheep producers. You can create a cosy, natural home for the whole family with pollution-free, unbleached and undyed materials, apparel and soft furnishings from our extensive range.
All our throws, sheepskin rugs and woollens are made from natural fibers, from luxurious merino to virgin wool and special sheep breeds: woven, felted and knitted into our vast array of designs and styles.
We produce our own yarn and virgin wool from our small biodynamic flock reared on the outskirts of Edinburgh as well as working with our producers in the Carpathians and Nepal to bring you timeless home textiles of the highest standards. We have a basic range available throughout the year and an extended unique winters collection to celebrate the winter season with the best that's on offer.
Living with natural textiles: Our Natural Home and Woollen collections here at Travelling Basket are all about soft furnishings; working with the natural materials in their rawest forms without chemicals and dyes to make your home environment more comfortable, healthy, warm and natural. People often worry about looking after and maintaining their natural textiles but following a few simple good practice guidelines means you can continue your lifestyle in the way you always have but with the added benefits of living with natural materials.
A few house rules to ensure longevity of your woollens are a simple way to enjoy them worry free: Vacuum regularly to keep dust to a minimum, air your home by opening windows and doors on bright breezy days (this freshens stale air and deters pests), use your woollens regularly and anything that is stored away should only be stored dry, clean and airtight (we recommend checking stored woollens regularly or rotating blankets to ensure frequent use as agitation also deters pests like moths). Store soap or cedar blocks in cupboards to keep the air fresh and deter pests. Dust regularly around hard to reach places, clean under the bed and use a warm soapy water to sponge down cupboards, mantelpieces and headboards etc. Most pests (moths, mice etc) don't like light so making a habit of opening shutters and blinds can prevent them from moving in.
Why wool ? There is more to choosing to use wool and other natural materials. There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows how it can improve the quality of your health and life through the quality of rest and sleep as well as the health of our planet. Synthetic materials and fabrics quite simply do not have the properties that these natural materials and fibers do and have only ever been made to mimic what occurs in nature through natural design. Synthetic fabrics have also been proven to be incredibly damaging to our health and the health of our environment.
In order to achieve a good nights sleep humans need to ensure homeostasis (that is remaining at a stable temperature through the phases of sleep). It has been scientifically proven that under most normal conditions people sleep deeper and better under wool.
Wool and goose down are excellent Insulators, they both trap lots of air creating a warm cushioning bubble around you, and are both petrochemical free. In addition wool is also a highly breathable material and can absorbs moisture readily and has excellent desorption qualities (gets rid of moisture quickly); is able to transfer moisture away from the skin maintaining stable and optimum conditions while you rest or sleep; allows for different temperature sleeping partners, and regulates your bodies temperature (after all it is designed to insulate mammals). It is also scientifically proven to enable more restful sleep and can maintain your body as cool in summer and warm in winter.
The science of sleep: Research demonstrates that, under many conditions, people sleep better if some or all of their bedding products are made from wool. Commonly known for the natural features of comfort and quality, wool bedding products have also been proven to actually help you sleep better. The moisture retention and wicking properties of wool help you to stay at an optimum temperature, drier, with less sweating and overheating. Wool fabrics and bedding breath more naturally than synthetic products, increase the duration of the most beneficial phase of sleep known as the Rapid Eye Movement sleep stage and finally enables a deeper, longer sleep.
Washing my sheepskins rugs: Looking after your sheepskin rug is actually really simple, but there are a few absolute do's and don't's to remember. Following these basic instructions should ensure its longevity and maintain the quality of your skins, but you'd be surprised how many people don't do it right and then blame the sheepskin when it goes wrong. If in doubt take it to a professional or alternatively follow the maintenance care instructions that should prolong the life of the skin before a wash is needed. Wool is an amazing natural fibre and needs far less care than a lot of other fabrics. It naturally shirks dirt and odours and very often a good shake (hang it on a line or over a fence to beat gently) or a gentle brush with a comb or pet brush will avoid the need of washing. Depending on where you keep your skins and how you use them you may occasionally want to wash them, but it is not required for their longevity.
Washing in a machine: We would always recommend hand washing as a preference as this will be the most natural and controlled way to do this but appreciate that this is not always a practical or doable solution. When washing in a machine use "wool safe" detergent, avoid fabric conditioners, keep it on the cool setting and be gentle. Here are some simple steps to follow:
Detergent: Only use natural wool approved detergents such as the ecover range or special wool detergents as most detergents contain some bleach which will irreversibly damage your skin, even the smallest amount can be very damaging so avoid it completely! You only need to use a very small amount of detergent and can even get a good result without any.
Additional detergents: Never use brighteners, anti-odour or perfume powders, pellets, whiteners, fabric conditioners, softeners or any other wash additives (except natural Lanolin). You will not manage to change the colour of the skin as that is set in the tanning process. If it looks dirty usually dry brushing is the best first approach. Wool does not readily absorb colour so its usually quite easy to remove stains without having to wash the entire thing. Always use cold or luke warm water to do this.
Setting your machine cycles: Only use the Wool or Hand Wash cycles as the Delicate cycles are not gentle enough. Only wash at 30ºC (86ºF) or less. Cold would be best (think about the sheep and does it ever take a hot bubble bath) but if the skin is quite grubby opt for the warmer setting but not above 30ºC. A very simple way to freshen up the skin without doing a full wash is to use the rinse cycle a few times, remember no additives only a little of the wool safe detergent. For a great result you can add some lanolin to the final rinse. This is a natural skin and wool conditioner (which sheep produce naturally to condition their own wool), this will aid combing and help keep the skin supple. Finally set you spin 400 RPM or less, this is very important otherwise you could mat your skin. Remove from the machine immediately after the cycle is complete and dry as follows.
Drying your sheepskin: You can begin the drying process in a new or good quality modern tumble-drier using the “Smoothing” cycle or “Wool” cycle, using no heat. You do not want to completely dry it in this way as it will become stiff and cardboard like. Aim to remove the skin from the drier when still more damp than dry and still soft and flexible. Next lay the skin flat and comb through using delicate strokes (a normal comb or pets comb is ideal for this). Don't be alarmed if some wool sheds whilst you are coming. A little shedding occurs even when it is dry we're just not normally so focused on it. Gently pull your sheepskin into shape and allow it to finish drying naturally: dry flat in a cool airy place, preferably in moving air and out of sunlight. Do not use direct heat sources (heaters, hair dryers or dehumidifiers) as this will overly dry and permanently damage your skin. Ensure it is completely dry before using your sheepskin and give it a final comb for a gorgeous loft.
Avoid: Using the wrong detergent, using any fabric conditioner or softener or other wash additive, using too much soap (even the wool approved detergents), Washing or drying too fast or too hot, using direct heat, tumble-driers, dehumidifiers, sunlight etc.
Remember it is a natural material so treat it naturally, and don't worry.
At Travelling Basket we set out to bring the beauty of traditional & innovative hand crafted products to UK markets. Each of our products has a beautiful story of craft, passion and innovation that has enabled it to stand the test of time. We make it our business to know as much as we can about our products, their makers, origins and how to look after them and we thought we'd share a little of that here with you.
Not only do we care about the importance of an ecologically sound production but also maintain long standing relationships with all of our suppliers, paying particular attention to the working conditions of the growers, producers, and makers that we work with. We are immensely proud of our producers and makers to retail chain and value each and every part of it. It is because of this that we are able to offer you natural products that have come from the heart, with the knowledge of their making, the materials used, purpose and life, all with low environmental impacts, safe and fair working environments and at a reasonable price. We believe we are contributing in a positive way to the maker movement, slow fashion and ethical consumerism.