“Black Madras” Penan Women Project Tote Bag
Wow factor! This vibrant rainbow ombre woven into black is a standout in sensational eye catching colours.
With stunning colours and contemporary patterns, PWP bags may be handwoven in the Borneo rainforest, but they are designed for city chic. A modern twist to handmade bags!
As a personal touch each bag carries a tag with the name, and often a photo of the Penan weaver that made your bag. A PWP Authenticity badge is also attached to each bag so that you can be sure your basket is genuine and not a copy.
Strong, durable, washable, and available in sizes to suit any occassion, you are sure to find a good reason to have one of these beautiful handmade tote bags at the ready.
Penan Womens Project bags are Fair Trade and Handmade in Sarawak
Why Aren’t The Baskets Made Of Rattan?
Frankly I’m glad you asked. The answer to that question could be…
so that the bags are washable
so that the bags are more durable
so that the bags can be gloriously colourful
so that the designs can be amazing and unlimited
so that the weavers can let their imagination run riot
But the real answer is… it’s just not viable to use rattan because
It takes 2 to 4 days to find enough rattan to make one basket
It takes another 2-3 weeks to clean and prepare the rattan
Then it takes another 1-2 weeks to weave the basket
So, if unlike me, the dashboard of your car is made from cardboard, you have recently knitted yourself a phone cover, and your hairdryer is biodegradable, please don’t think badly of our beautiful Penan weavers who are doing what they can to support their families in an environment with very few resources
And remember…the baskets are not single use plastic.
Penan Weaver Story
Judy Raja from Long Nen
Judy is from the Penang Tribe, a nomadic aboriginal people of the Borneo Rainforest. In buying a Penan bag you are helping her to make the life of her family better.
Judy had longed for a motorbike for years to ease her daily life in Ulu. After joining our weaving project for less then a year, she had saved enough to purchase a new motorbike from her weaving hands. Now she can easily bring her child for medical or school at another Penan settlement (1-2hrs ride on logging road) with facilities. Her husband also gets to use the motorbike to look for rattan in the jungle and both of them can easily go to their padi field to work. Thanks to support for this weaving project our weavers get to weave their dreams come true.
Traditional Penan baskets are usually made out of rattan, which is difficult to harvest and process, resulting in the production of a mere two to three baskets per month. Their solution to this problem was to combine the Penan way of weaving craft baskets with the use of "tali", a plastic ribbon, which is sturdier, cheaper and readily available for them.
The Penans are one of the indigenous tribes of Borneo. Calling the rainforest their home, they are believed to be the last nomadic hunter-gatherers in Malaysia. Many of them live in extreme poverty in the interior of Sarawak, Borneo.
Penan Women Project (PWP) focuses on helping the women of the Penan tribe to earn regular incomes by crafting handmade bags. The Project also ensures the continuity of their heritage, as the Penan women are expert weavers despite having no formal education.
Large, Medium, Small
Crocodile, Diamond, Eye Of Bird, Flower, Heart, Leaf, Monkey Tail, Pangolin, Raindrop, River, Snake, Snake Teeth, Vine, Waterfall, Wild Bitternut
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