Baskets are everywhere in my house. They show up as silverware and napkin containers on a dinner buffet, are used to corral bathroom countertop items, organize loose kitchen countertop stuff, hold keys in the hallway, serve as cachepots for plants, as paintbrush and pen holders, to set bread or crackers out, organize small office supplies, and besides the ubiquitous laundry baskets (not the plastic kind!) I used to throw the kids toys into huge baskets. Baskets provide instant pseudo organization for loose items.
Baskets have been around for a very long time, and they have something earthy, authentic, almost archaic and tactile to them. Unlike glassware or porcelain they are softer in feel and looks. I love baskets in general, but especially artsy and carefully crafted ones, in contrast to the more common and commercial kinds you see on sale by the hundreds in large craft stores. Mind you, even those "commercial" baskets are all hand made, no basket weaving machine has yet been invented, as an interesting NY Time article on basket making states. Someone sat for hours and crafted reed, grasses, willow branches or whatever local material, into these holdall containers. A basket represents a deep connection between its maker and her surrounding ecosystem from which her material comes. Baskets as an art form are the special ones, where you get a deeper sense of the craftsperson behind it. More of the artist's soul flowed into her craft because there is more self-expression. A few years ago, in Alaska, I discovered the beautiful baleen baskets, which were a little out of my price range to say the least. Basket making as a true art form can be breathtakingly extraordinary.
But I enjoy my more modest treasures just as much because they add a certain raw beauty to the otherwise modern lines of my home and accessories. Slight irregularities and imperfections can only be found in handmade objects and give them a sort of soul in contrast to the predictability of a factory made item.