Woven sisal bowls are a traditional craft for Rwandan artisans. For some Local + Lejos Collection bowls, we’ve taken some of Rwandan designs, handed down from generation to generation, and added a modern twist through color. For others, we’ve added our own modern pattern, still honoring the bowl weaving skill and craft.
In Rwanda, these Sisal Lidded Peace Baskets are given at weddings or on other special occasions, containing gifts of friendship and thanks . Simple yet thoughtful, the traditional pattern symbolizes the mountain path of friends bearing such gifts, hidden in baskets.
Local + Lejos is the design child of Sheeva Sairafi. Growing up in a diverse household, Sheeva was born with an innate curiosity about other cultures.
“On my first trip to Iran as a child, I’ll never forget being mesmerized by the beautifully woven carpets and handcrafted gold jewelry in the bazaar. Throughout my travels, befriending talented artisans has always been the most rewarding experience.”
The Local + Lejos Collection is an effort for Sheeva to preserve what makes this world such a beautiful, unique place and help impact the lives of those who craft. We hope that you are reminded of the help you have given every time you see an L+L piece in your home.
More than 4554 stitches are hand woven into every medium bowl. And with every stitch, the artisan had her family in mind. With her fair wage income, she provides for the wellbeing of her household in the Rwandan countryside. Nourishment, health, education, and dreams for a bright future- each basket holds much love.
About The Product
Using Local + Sustainable Materials
There’s something special about seeing the raw ingredients of Local + Lejos Collection hand-made sisal bowls—you can really appreciate how each element forms the unique beauty of every hand-made bowl.
STEP 1: Elephant grass is an abundant natural fiber in Rwanda which derives its name from being a favorite food and hiding place for elephants (that’s how tall it can get!). Rugged enough to hide an elephant, this sturdy grass ends up on the inside of our bowls, making each piece strong enough to hold anything you throw its way.
STEP 2: Sisal is an incredibly versatile element in the bowl production process and is used to wrap around the elephant grass and weave the bowl. Sisal fibers come from the agave plant—a machete is used to cut and peel back the outer green skin of the plant, revealing beautiful, thin white fibers.
STEP 3: The sisal fibers are then either left in their raw state or dyed various shades of brown (light, medium, dark) with tea depending on which color combinations we’re going for.
STEP 4: Our Local + Lejos Collection bowls are designed with minimal simplicity in mind but then woven using beautiful, delicate techniques by our artisans. It’s why each bowl ends up having its own character, story, and intention—ready for you to chose the perfect bowl from afar to find its perfect home with you.
As Seen In
“Woven sisal bows ($25-$85) made in Rwanda that Sheeva designs to play off traditional Rwandan patterns.
Many women working [with] Sheeva [and Azizi Life] are their family’s breadwinner. Rather than pay them for each individual item sold (as is usual), [they] buy upfront, giving women steady incomes whether or not [their work sells]. [Azizi Life] then reinvests profits in training programs requested by weavers, like dyeing and English classes.”
Better Homes & Gardens
“Local and Lejos is a [collection] that brings artisanal goods from the world over, right to the palm of your hand. Keep up to date with their latest community partnership where they give back proceeds from purchases, and in turn, provide shoppers with unique handmade goods. I enjoy learning of crafts I would otherwise have to travel the world to uncover, no passport needed.”
“In honor of Earth Day 2019, these are the sustainable brands we’re shopping: Local + Lejos is a modern home decor [collection] that sources products from around the globe while supporting the artisans who hand-craft each piece. Their products—like this sisal and elephant grass tea-dyed bowl—are dyed with non-toxic methods, and crafted out of eco-friendly materials.”
“As founder and CEO of ethical decor [collection] Local + Lejos, Sheeva Sairafi is someone whose mind is squarely on shopping more sustainably, which starts with examining what something is made of and how it’s made. Handcrafted in Rwanda by the [Abizeranye] Cooperative, these beautiful woven bowls are made of 100 percent sisal dyed naturally with tea.”
Across the hills of Rwanda, groups of rural artisans are working to bring hope to their families through skillfully handcrafted goods. Azizi Life partners with over 30 independent groups- a total of over 500 artisan partners. Rising from the horrors of genocide, artisans from all backgrounds have joined together once again through their craft. Each artisan cooperative specializes in hand crafting products using specific techniques and raw materials. Azizi Life is honored to partner with these women and men, collaborating to connect makers, designers, and customers around the world.
We love serving your vision for beauty and meaning in the gifts you give, what you wear, and how you decorate. Azizi Life serves as a bridge, partnering with artisans and designers to offer high quality, ethically-sourced goods for life and gifting. Products are crafted by hand using local, natural, and renewable materials. Our modern and traditional collections include baskets, woven bowls, home décor, tabletop, woven jewelry, and bags. Azizi Life offers products to US customers from our warehouse in Spokane, Washington, as well as FOB sales directly from Rwanda.
Azizi Life is a fair trade organization which partners with Rwandan artisans to bring beautifully designed, hand crafted goods to the world.
As a not-for-profit organization, Azizi Life is dedicated to the wellbeing of our artisan partners and their families. In addition to opening economic opportunity through fair trade, Azizi Life invests in a range of community impact projects. Our Rwandan-led team facilitates adult literacy classes and offers other practical resources for personal, spiritual, and economic growth.