Interior Spy started life about 2 years ago as an interiors blog styled and written by me, as an offshoot from my background as an interior designer/stylist. This has morphed into my homewares brand specialising in ethically-sourced handwoven basket ware from sub-Saharan Africa.
All products are handwoven, I mean really handwoven with 90% of the baskets are woven by ladies, often from very rural and impoverished areas.
As a former interior designer with a leaning towards the natural and pared-down, the raw beauty of this handwork immediately resonated. Some of my products have been woven for hundreds of years, and are part of the cultural heritage of the country, such as the winnowing platters form Zimbabwe and Zambia (formerly Rhodesia). Other items have been designed and woven into shapes to suit interiors spaces, such as the side tables.
The products are woven from indigenous grasses. It is simply impossible for example, for the Namib table mats to be woven from the river reed used in Zimbabwe as the reed does not grow in Namibia. And obviously a good harvest depends on warm sun and plenty of rain, something we take for granted in the UK!
Once the reeds, grasses and palm (ilala palm, NOT used in palm oil) are harvested, they are left to dry out on the baking African sun. Each lady brings her own skillset “to the table” so to speak, and weaves, plaits and sews these beautiful crafts and homewares for us to enjoy in our homes.
This work enables the ladies to get out of their homes, use their skills and develop their cultural heritage. Most importantly it gives them independence and creates a community, much needed in remote areas. Their financial independence is far reaching: it enables them to send their children to school.
Every item in my catalogue is personally sourced in Africa, by me and selected specifically for its versatility around the home and its adaptability to any “type” of interior: from modern warehouse penthouses to ancient cottages and in-between.
T: +44 7931 383481