Everyday Weaving

The story of Mrs. Danica, the lady with the basket full of love

By Slovenian Tourist Board

Mrs Danica's Workshop (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

In a house at the top of the hill in the village Zamostec, there’s a beautiful workshop, full of thin willow branches and beautiful woven products.

Weaving workshop desk (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

Mrs. Danica always welcomes her visitors with coffee and cookies, served on a tray and in a basket she has woven herself. 

Danica Benčina making the woven basket (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

She has been weaving since she was a little girl. Her mother learned it at a course in their home village. 

Since she has retired, not a day goes by without spending her time in her workshop, and sometimes her husband is keeping her company, as she got him interested in weaving too.

Tools for weaving (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

Mrs. Danica gathers the willow branches herself, by the water, in the surroundings of her home. In the past, willow-growing was quite popular too around here. 

During the heyday of this complementary economic activity, individual farmers sold up to 15 tonnes of willow branches per year.

During the weaving process (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

Unfortunately, this craft is not as popular as it once was, so there are fewer and fewer willows, which is why getting the material can sometimes be problematic. 

Mrs. Danica only uses the branches that are less than a year old, the older ones are usually likely to break.

Weaving (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

After they are gathered in the spring, the branches must be peeled when they are still a little bit damp. Then she leaves them outside to dry in the warm sun, and they are ready for the splitting.

Traditional woven products handmade by Danica Benčina (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

Mrs. Danica makes baskets in batches of four or five. In total, it takes her about five hours to make one basket. 

Her favourite is the “holandarica” basket - it’s the type of basket, known by rectangular shape and colored pattern.

Weaving the bottom of a basket (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board


For a “holandarica”, she first weaves the bottom. 

This must be done carefully, as the bottom should be strong enough to carry the weight of all the goodies. 

Weaving the sides of a basket (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

Then she makes the basis... 

Danica Benčina weaves the sides of the basket (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

…and weaves the sides. She must be precise, otherwise the basket is not solid and holes can form.

Weaving the handle of a basket (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

Last but not least, she makes the handle. The basket must be not only pretty, but comfortable for carrying too.

Painting the woven basket with dark basis by Danica Benčina (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

Afterward, she decorates the woven basket with typical patterns. 

She starts with the dark basis...

Painting the woven basket by Danica Benčina (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

…and finishes the beautiful weaved product with bright colored flowers.

Traditional woven products handmade by Danica Benčina (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

And the basket is ready for picking apples! 

Or many other things. For example, it’s perfect for shopping at the farmers' market, and for gathering mushrooms in vast Slovenian forests, too!

Woven bottle basket (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

But mrs. Danica doesn’t make just baskets. She creates products of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. Among others, she makes woven bottles. 

These are especially popular among those who make homemade juices, wine, or schnapps!

Woven basket for a bottle (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

The woven products are very sustainable, as they can be used for generations! 

And they can be repaired if needed, too.

Different types of woven baskets (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

Mrs. Danica is always open to new ideas, which is why she is also making custom products. 

A wall rack on the right was a wish of her granddaughter. What a beautiful gift!

Woven basket in the shape of a heart (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board


Mrs. Danica is handing over the love of weaving to the next generations, too. 


She has been participating in the Ribnica Handicraft Center as a mentor to all the enthusiasts of this beautiful handicraft.

Weaver Danica Benčina making a traditional basket (2021) by Bright Visuals, Fabulatorij and Trampolin Studio.Slovenian Tourist Board

The useful woven baskets (2021) by Luka SveticSlovenian Tourist Board

Woven products are not only beautiful and sustainable, they are practical too. 

So grab your favourite basket and fill it with delicious Slovenian products. Maybe some potica, the queen of Slovenian pastery?

Credits: Story

🧺 Special thanks to:
The Public Institute Ribnica Handicraft Centre
Danica Benčina

🧺 Sources:
Ljudska umetnost in obrti v Sloveniji; Bogataj, J., Ljubljana: Domus, 1993
Domače obrti na Slovenskem; Bogataj, J., Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije, 1989.

🧺 Story by Eva Bizjan

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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