Fair pricing is an issue Arts for Africa takes very seriously. In order to determine the value of the basket, Arts for Africa uses a size & grading system that has been devised in cooperation with, and is widely accepted by the weavers. Grading baskets into quality categories is based on a set of commandments for basket weaving.
Is the initial starting coil well done and even?
Is the basket stable/does it sit flat?
Is the pattern even and symmetrical or pleasing?
Are the leaves used evenly and well-distributed?
Is the core solid (firm) and even?
Do the sides of the basket change size smoothly?
Are there flyaway hairs or is it smooth to the touch?
Are the stitches tight, dense and even?
Is the last coil slope of gradually and tapered well to the basket’s edge?
Depending on how many commandments are met, baskets are graded into different price categories: Competition, Super Plus, International / Intermediate, Premium +, Premium, Trainer. Arts for Africa only purchases baskets from international quality upwards.
Sizes of baskets are measured using special tape which is widely recognized and used by the weavers. This is how we have come to a common understanding with the weavers as how to determine the right purchase price for the baskets. Purchase price of the Zimbabwe baskets have also been determined in full agreement with the weavers we support, although they still lack a grading system.
The size category of the closed baskets is determined by measuring the circumference of the basket from top, round the bottom and back to the top. The size category of the open baskets is also measured with the special tape and constitutes diameter + height. Through this system, a tall basket with a small diameter may fall into the same price category as a lower basket with a larger diameter.
Open baskets are given codes, according to size, ranging from small to large between NXX, N1 – N25. Closed baskets range from small to large between K1 – K40.