Are you in the market for sustainable, fair, creative and unique handmade baskets, say no more! Songes d’été arose from a passion for baskets. The lady behind the name is Edith Van Ham, a dear friend of ours and a very fascinating and inspiring mother of two talented children. She has gained her life experiences in the clothing industry. Next to teaching yoga classes, her partner, children and lovely dogs have taught her what life is all about. In addition, she loves fresh organic products and enjoys jogging to keep her yin and yang up to date and above all to be able to stay healthy and creative.
What was the motivation behind Songes d’été & where does the name come from?
My entire life I have had baskets for the kitchen, the wood for the fireplace, the toys of the children, the blankets I used for my yoga lessons and in the car for the groceries. The basket was everywhere, but it was an invisible object, it didn’t stand out. I started to get interested in how the baskets were made and how labor intensive it is. So little thought is given to the creation of it. I found it necessary to put baskets in the spotlight and to give them the attention they deserve. The meaning of the name “Songes d’été” is “Summer Thoughts”. It automatically brings me to thoughts of warmth, the sun and vast expanses such as the sea or a beautiful landscape. A basket fits that picture perfectly for me.
All of the baskets are unique , what inspires you to create these one of a kind items?
Working with natural materials inspires me, it is so wonderful to give each basket its own look and therefore its own identity. All baskets are different like us, one is wider, the other higher, then one is crooked, they are all unique. I try to shape them a bit, because after a long journey and being crammed together, their shape is sometimes hard to find, but the first encounter decides which color they will wear and what the handles will look like . I look at the basket and the colors of wool and I begin, similar to how you would start a painting.
Color seems to play an important role in your work, what does color mean to you?
Color represents feelings, travel and inspiration. A color says so much, it gives warmth and confidence, it can also provide protection and distance. The appeal of a color is personal, but it can differ from how you feel or what time of year it is. Color can bring people together, with a color you can express yourself and with color you can give a new dimension to every day. So I can say that color is important because everyone is their own color and therefore unique.
Can you share us a bit about the creation process, how are these baskets made?
When the baskets arrive in the studio, they are checked for irregularities. Then they are placed in a mold to help them get back to their original shape. While presenting the basket, the colors of the wool and the handles are being determined. Crocheting the outside piece takes about 3 hours, the leather handles are cut to length, then shaved off so that the sides are rounded, this to get a more pleasant grip. After that the sides are finished and polished. The holes are punched for the attachment of the handles on the basket. The back is treated with a finish to make it smoother and finally everything is greased and polished. If the edges of the handles still need to be painted in one color, that will happen afterwards.
What is a sustainable product?
A sustainable product for me is a product that lasts a long time, is made from natural materials and does not damage our nature.
How can we contribute to living more sustainably?
Everything on Earth influences each other. I realize that now more than ever. Harmony and cooperation are important starting points for achieving a sustainable society. Any disruption creates problems on a large and small scale. It is therefore important to think about what you would like to harvest so that you know what to sow. It starts with the little things you can do in your daily life.
What are the future plans for Songes d’été?
Actually, I don’t dream about what might come. I live between my baskets from day to day and they inspire me. I get nice responses, from Europe to America and discover that there are many people who love baskets like myself. I like to grow in the creative process and we’ll see where it takes us. I try to experience everything from a creative flow without pressure but with a lot of feeling, then I feel good.