OUR HEROES…THE BASKET WEAVERS OF SHANDONG

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As a customer it’s always great to understand what special details you should be looking out for, the little things that make a range or product distinct, add personality and make those pounds and pennies you invest in them worthwhile. With that in mind we’re devoting more time to giving you a little more insight into the heart and soul of our furniture and the people that make it. Our furniture is handmade and each item we produce requires a great deal of time, precision and immense care. We want to champion the people who put their energy into making our furniture special. In essence, they’re our heroes and they deserve a huge amount of admiration for the skills and techniques they apply to each and every piece.

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The Cotswold Company have produced the classic Farmhouse Ivory range to a tried and tested specification for almost two decades. As such an important part of Cotswold Co’s heritage the team have spent bags of time agonising over the right place and the right people with the best skillset to produce this classic range, that’s why we took a trip to Shandong.

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Handmade, beautifully unique

On one of our recent visits to China the team were introduced to a small, humble manufacturer in Shandong who specialise in simple, traditional construction and have great expertise in paint finishes. This part of China is renowned for its skills in painted cabinet production but when we paid them a visit we were particularly enchanted with the wicker basket weavers.

It’s such a traditional process that’s been in existence for thousands of years, so you might think that weaving is quite unremarkable…but we beg to differ! After spending time with our craftsmen we found ourselves mesmerized by this sequential and almost rhythmic technique. We stood in awe as, strand by strand, the wicker was transformed into the recognisable shape of our farmhouse basket.

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Woven baskets are produced the world over, but each and every basket is specific to the region and the plant type available to that little spot on the globe. While every basket in our range follows the same structure and pattern, each member of our Shandong team has his or her own approach and technique to creating their baskets. We noticed they’d each established their own way of doing it, perhaps the way their family member taught them or a winning technique that they’d developed over years and years. It fascinated us that not only is the end result specific to the region but also to the person making it.

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You might be thinking ‘simple things please simple minds’ and you might be right, but to us it made this part of the range even more charming and endearing. We pondered how each and every basket, in each piece of this range had been lovingly and carefully created by hand and that each basket was completely unique.

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This quintessential Cotswold Co range is full of contemporary country charm. It’s crisp ivory painted frame is complemented beautifully by these practical and unique hand-woven wicker storage baskets, all hand made by our team of very talented folk.

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