As we were walking to the Phinney Farmers Market tonight, we came across Tunji Alao creating beautiful baskets on the sidewalk across the street from the PNA.
Tunji owns Masai Imports on Broadway on Capitol Hill and also sets up outside each Seattle farmers market. He has a wide range of sizes and styles, including a handled one that’s perfect for holding fresh produce from the market – and we saw a number of people at the market with them.
Tunji told me he came here from Ghana 35 years ago and got his masters degree in broadcast journalism from the UW. When he couldn’t find a job, his family back home sent him a bunch of hand-woven baskets to sell. He sold out immediately and his new career was born. His family continues to send him baskets and he makes his own as well, sending money back home to his family.
Here are some of his bigger baskets.