Fabienne and Nathalie Clément created The Two Sisters in the Same Basket following a somewhat hazardous discovery. Their story and their creative concept in four parts have a great chance of giving you the fiber of basketry!
Updated May 10
The spark plug, as Nathalie Clément explains, was a basket-making session in a museum in Vermont. “With my sister, we signed up for a basket weaving course that I had noticed,” she recalls. After three or four hours, we went out with our little basket; Fabienne’s was almost perfect, mine rather average, but it was a trigger, especially for my sister. »
The discovery of this universe encouraged them to continue the experience by taking other courses headed by a lady named Caroline. “Once a month, we went to his workshop to buy equipment and make a basket with the group of local farmers,” says Fabienne Clément. A few years later, Caroline retired and Fabienne Clément decided to acquire her stock to make basketwork whenever she had free time.
From the model dedicated to picking mushrooms to the shopping bag, passing by the satchel and the laundry basket, she creates them for multiple needs! “At one point, I had too many at home, so we had to find a plan B. So we started to participate in Christmas markets, trade fairs in Sutton, in Frelighsburg, then at the Public Market in the atmosphere of the XVIIIe century at Pointe-à-Callière seven or eight years ago. »
A remarkable backpack
This experience propelled their business across Montreal. ” There were a lot of people ; we gave demonstrations, we invited people to do a row of basket weaving, then two, and they had stars in their eyes! “recalls Nathalie Clément. “What’s fun about basket weaving is that it’s within everyone’s reach, including children and those who claim to be not very skilled. In a few hours, the basket is made and it’s very rewarding”, adds his sister.
Motivated and delighted to see a certain enthusiasm on the part of the population, Fabienne Clément took steps to be able to operate her business at home, in Montreal, and the two companions began to sell online and at the workshop, by appointment. . By dint of requests to learn the art of basketry, group lessons are emerging. One day, one of the participants, who was carrying the backpack she had designed, was stopped by someone from the Les Affûtés team to find out where her superb bag had come from. Since then, Fabienne Clément has been teaching the art of basketry once or twice a week in their workshop in Little Italy.
Fabienne Clément has chosen to work with rattan, which she brings from Indonesia. It is a very long vine that grows and regenerates quickly.
I have sometimes been criticized for competing with indigenous communities, but this is really not the case, because they mainly use black ash, which is a local wood that requires months of soaking. I don’t do this enormous preparatory work. Also, their technique is different.
Fabienne Clément, from Two Sisters in the Same Basket
One basket, four options
The two sisters offer three possibilities to those who are interested in their baskets: buy it ready-made, do it during a Les Affûtés workshop or acquire an online kit that includes the materials and explanations for weaving it at home.
Nathalie Clément, for her part, created a fourth part of the business by imagining a very specific model. “I have less of Fabienne Clément’s manual side. I’m more conceptual, so I developed a single product called FonestMD and takes the shape of a bird’s nest,” she explains. The principle: you put your cell phone there to better manage its use. This basket is not meant to be perfect, as it is inspired by a nest. “Nature itself is imperfect, that’s what makes all its beauty, so your work will necessarily be successful!” “, she says.
Passionate about this craft, Fabienne Clément notices that the people who attend her classes come out very happy and proud to have made something beautiful and useful. “It’s very rewarding. For my part, I sign each of my baskets and I have reached 3100 in 10 years, even though it’s just a hobby! »