Bilums are an iconic and integral part of Papua New Guinea. For centuries women have been hand weaving bilums. These traditions being passed down through generations initially as a means of necessity; to transport large amounts of food and firewood and ingeniously to carry and soothe babies. In more modern times however, the women craft these uniquely designed pieces to generate an income for their families at their local market.
As two girls growing up in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Co-Founders - Sarah Duckworth and Emma Leahy, have always been inspired by these talented artisans and their craft. In fact, as babies they were both carried by these very bilums.
Their aim for Our Tribe PNG is to simply bring these crafts to the world community in order to provide the artisans a wider market of buyers. Artisans commute either by walking or bus from rural and remote villages to town to come and sell their bilums and baskets, which would have taken weeks to months to complete each, with no guarantee of a sale. With tourism a huge contributor to the bilum and basket industry, the artisans rely on visiting buyers for income and are not always guaranteed a sale each day - making it hard to earn enough to support themselves and their families.
Our Tribe PNG purchases all of our products primarily from female artisans, and often place orders for more bilums and baskets. This ensures they are guaranteed an income for their crafts on completion. Alternatively these women display their beautifully crafted products at the local market, airports and hotels with no assurance of when they will sell. Our Tribe PNG does not employ a team of weavers and instead purchases from all artisans in Mt Hagen, West Highlands Province and Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province.
From the woman in PNG, these bilums and baskets are a gift of timeless quality and design.