Back in June this year, I visited the plentiful market of Serian town, about one hour drive from Kuching . Serian is a regular stop-over for tourists on their way to visiting the longhouses of Skran, Lemanak or Batang Ai. While I was there to shoot the Durian monument with my camera (check out my previous post: Green Monuments), I spotted a little old lady, seated on a woven mat, timidly laid out on the ground, yet standing out quite obviously with her baskets of many color, in a corner of the otherwise mostly green vegetable section of the market. As I looked closer, I noticed that the baskets were entirely made of interwoven plastic strips and although I am usually no fan of plastic ware, except for cold storage purposes, I couldn’t help feeling excited and I felt rather frustrated that I just did not have enough time to spend to select a couple, at least, of those beautiful baskets.Back in Kuching, I mentioned the basket lady to a few of my friends, making a promise to myself to go back there and purchase one of two as soon as I would return from a trip to Perth WA. While I was enjoying browsing in a quaint little shop in Cottlesloe, near Perth, I found myself looking at the same type of colorful baskets! Yet of course with an Australian price, which helped convince me even further that I should indeed go back to the little old lady, back in Serian, Borneo; and so I did, last Sunday morning. I did not find any trace of my little old lady. Instead and to my great surprise, I found the whole center of the vegetable market occupied with rows of baskets, from small to very large, square and round, all with beautifully sharp colors.
While scouting for two different sizes and colors, I started chatting with the women who were busy weaving; they told me that they were self taught and worked at the market every day of the week and Sundays; they got their supply of plastic straps from the hardware shop.
|A pinkish basket for my lap-top|
Shopping was good; I went back home with a shocking pink and white basket to carry my lap-top and another large one and more purple to store magazines, unaware that my friend Alicia had transformed one of her own into a still life, right inside her living-room, bringing me to think that there seems to be no limit to uses of those beautiful baskets of many colors.
|Alicia's basket: what a splendid idea!|