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Kenyan Uteo Winnowing Tray

In this Workshop, we will paint beautiful African patterns on uteos. The uteo is a type of basket that was traditionally use... full details

$42.00 / per workshop

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About this Workshop


In this Workshop, we will paint beautiful African patterns on uteos. The uteo is a type of basket that was traditionally used for winnowing chaff from grain.  Nowadays, it is also used as home decor.  Uteo is Swahili for “winnowing tray.”  It is used to separate the chaff from grain by carefully throwing the grain in the direction of the wind in order for the chaff to be blown away.  The grain then settles back onto the uteo.  This is done continuously until all the chaff is blown away.

Uteos are carefully woven by artisans and used after a harvest.  This is when the grain that has been harvested is removed from its husks.  Usually, the husks cannot be easily separated from the grain, so the uteos are implemented to winnow out the remaining chaff from the harvested grain.

Learners will be painting on already woven pieces and will learn how to use the pointillism technique of painting, as dots were also used a lot in the creation of art in African culture.  I first made a pointillism piece while I was in high school.  I was inspired by a school trip where our art teacher took us to a nearby art college that was exhibiting art by students.  I saw a pointillism piece of Barack Obama and I loved how accurate it was, despite being drawn entirely by dots. 

The uteo can be found in almost all Kenyan households.  I have a fond memory of my mother’s dowry event where my father’s family gifted women numerous uteos and other Kenyan traditional items, such as kangas (a colorful African garment).  You can never have enough uteos!  They are used as winnowing trays, fruit baskets, decorations, and as thoughtful functional gifts, just to mention a few.


What You'll Need

GLOkit What's a GLOkit?


Kenyan Uteo Winnowing Tray GLOkit

This GLOkit contains one Kenyan winnowing basket, commonly known as an Uteo in Swahili.

GLOkit Included
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Additional Supplies

Each Learner will also need:

  • Cotton swabs 
  • Two paintbrushes-one should be medium sized with either a round or flat brush, the other should have a round brush and either be medium or small sized.
  • Two colors of acrylic paint, with enough paint to cover the entire surface with one of the colors. The second color will be for the patterns.  Uteos are usually painted using brown, orange, green, red, yellow, white and black-please select two of these colors for a traditional look, or you may simply choose two colors that you like.
  • A disposable plastic plate, or other type of paint palette
  • Water in a deep container (to clean the brushes)
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper to cover your work surface




Technical Requirements

You will need a device (computer or tablet) that is equipped with a camera, microphone, and speakers. For more information, please check out our Technical Requirements page.

Meet the Instructor

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Wendi MutisyaView Profile

I love art. I started drawing at a very young age thanks to my mother’s support. She bought me the materials I needed and encouraged me to keep at it. I went on to study art in high school and I loved every bit of it. Unfortunately, I was not able to pursue art in university. I studied about computers instead and I love this because it led me to fall in love with the way art and technology work together. I am so excited to be an Instructor at GLOMADO because I get to use technology to share my love for art and the Kenyan culture. Everything always works out in the end!

I remember creating a lion-themed painting for my big sister as her wedding gift. I could not travel to the UK for her wedding so this was my chance to pour all my love into something I made for her. She later called to thank me for the gift and it was such a lovely feeling, getting to know how happy the painting made her feel. I love the feeling I get when I gift someone with my artwork. My favourite materials to work with are coloured pens and paper because I love drawing and these items are readily available.

I want to teach this particular workshop because I love interior design that is filled with handmade items. I recently attended a traditional wedding where the women in the husband’s family were given uteos (winnowing trays) and lesos (pieces of Kenyan fabric with Swahili proverbs on them that are worn by women from the waist down) as gifts. The winnowing trays are used to carry fruit and vegetables too. These woven winnowing trays, along with the added tribal print paintings we will create together, will give any home a lovely look. I also like the fact that it will be a handmade item that has gone through the hands of a Kenyan and those of my students.

My favourite thing about living in Kenya is the sense of community we have. We are very keen on helping each other. We actively participate in what we call the Harambee philosophy, which literally means “all put together” in Swahili. We have self-help community events, such as fundraising for medical bills, school fees, and funeral arrangements, just to mention a few. We also have a saying that goes "Kidogo kidogo hujaza kibaba," meaning, “every little bit counts.” That is how people think while contributing, and eventually even the smallest amount goes a long way.

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NOTE: You can choose any available date on the calendar and rest assured that your GLOkit(s) WILL arrive before your workshop time! We only display dates/times that allow time to ship.

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Kenyan Uteo Winnowing Tray