How It’s Made: Mia Mélange Handcrafted Baskets

How It’s Made: Mia Mélange Handcrafted Baskets

Founded in 2014, South African brand Mia Mélange produces home décor and lifestyle accessories, including a range of woven vessels, used for storage or as decorative accents. The brand gets its name from the founder and former owner, Mia Danieli, along with the French word for “mixture”. Mélange is also the name for a type of wool yarn mix that combines different colored fibers.

Now under the helm of Jeanneke Malan, who took over the business in 2017, Mia Mélange creates modern and functional designs, crafted in its studio in the Winelands town of Stellenbosch, South Africa. From covered baskets to bowls and planters, Mia Mélange products are designed to be multi-purpose, perfect for holding various household items, while adding a natural, decorative touch to the living space.

Read on to discover the materials, skills and process that go into creating a signature Mia Mélange piece.

Discover Mia Mélange here


The material 

Mia Mélange cotton rope spools

Mia Mélange believes in sourcing local, sustainable and high-quality materials, which is why its products are predominantly made from cotton rope by a team of artisans who handcraft each piece with great care using natural materials and ancient crafting techniques. 

The rope used by Mia Mélange is braided in Cape Town, from yarns spun in South African mills, with cotton that is grown by local farmers. As a natural resource, cotton is sustainable, biodegradable and renewable, which makes it a great choice for environmentally friendly fashion and conscious consumption. 

Mia Mélange also gets its threads from ACA Threads, a local manufacturing company that is committed to ethical, socially responsible and sustainable practices. From planting a thousand olive trees to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to using a solar water-heating system for its dying needs, ACA Threads has invested in initiatives that contribute to a lower carbon footprint.

The process 


Mia Mélange products are made by coiling braided cotton rope tightly together and stitching it in place to achieve rigid shapes. Its team of artisans is taught how to sew and how to form the products to create a range of shapes, including round bowls, cylindrical planters, oval and rectangular baskets, as well as other uniquely shaped accessories.

The cotton fiber gives Mia Mélange items their natural ivory color, but the brand adds other shades into the mix with color dye, or a blend of different colored threads and jute rope. 

As each product is crafted by hand, no two products will be exactly the same and slight variances may occur across dimensions, shapes, stitching and coloring. Because they are made of rope, which is a textile, Mia Mélange’s woven baskets are flexible, and not as rigid as wicker, wood or plastic, so with proper care, they will maintain their shape over time.

The people 

Mia Mélange staff  Mia Mélange staff  Mia Mélange staff

As a business that is passionate about its local community, Mia Mélange strives to create job opportunities for previously unemployed women and men in its society. Each team member is trained with valuable skills that provide them with the ability to earn a good living, which empowers them to be independent and able to support themselves and their families.


Discover Mia Mélange here 

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