Palm Leaf Basket
Palm leaf basket (±20 cm) handmade in the Algarve.
Surprise friends, family, employees or clients by giving your gift in one of these handmade baskets, loaded not only with your present, but above all with a lot of history, tradition and the affection of the elders who wove them by hand.
Mrs. Odília is a force of nature. In her long and beautiful years, she still dedicates herself with love and care to gathering the leaves of the dwarf palm tree (Chamaerops humilis), which she still finds in the Barrocal and Serra Algarvia, near Querença, and interlacing them with meticulous manual gestures into true works of art, through “empreita“.
The empreita [contract] is one of the identifying elements of the Algarve’s material culture and so called because it was once paid according to the amount produced per day.
In the old days, empreita was used to make panniers and baskets for transporting and storing agricultural produce, fishing gear or housekeeping. They also used it to make mats for storing and drying figs, saddlebags for mules or donkeys to carry olives, brooms for whitewashing or doormats to grind corn for sherry and sift flour for bread.
These were some of the essential goods for life in the countryside made from the palm (the leaf of the dwarf palm tree).
The dwarf palm, also known as the broom palm, is most common in the limestone soils of the Barrocal. The palms are picked between June and September and dried in the air. They are then slatted into strips and sprinkled with water to moisten them and make them soft, a few hours before starting work.
The basis of the work is the braid made by interweaving the strips. The baracinha (a thin string made of palm) was used to sew the strips together to form the desired object. It was also used in brooms to join palm leaves to a cane handle.
In addition to these baskets, Mrs. Odília also picks various flowers from the countryside and arranges them into beautiful bouquets of dried flowers.