Bolga baskets are beautiful handmade baskets made in the villages around Bolgatanga, in the North-East of Ghana. The baskets are known for their beauty, durability and versatility.
The baskets are made from thick, durable elephant grass, dyed in vivid colours that represent the energy and enthusiasm of the people of Ghana.
First, a weaver has to travel to the market to buy their straw.
The weaver will buy different sizes of straw – some for the inside verticals (warps), some for the cross woven horizontals (wefts), some for coil that travels the circumference of the basket and some straw is purchased for the handles. The weaver then splits a piece of straw into two pieces. These two pieces of straw are dampened with water and are then rolled together over a person’s thigh using the palm of their hand – or over an old rubber sandal tied to the thigh (or a rubber sandal tied to a piece of wood) and this action creates one piece of straw. This is done so that the straw becomes soft and malleable.
Also during the weaving process, the weaver wets the straw to keep it malleable. When you receive your basket, you can do the same and dampen your basket, wait a few minutes for the straw to absorb the water and then shape the basket as desired.
After completing the basket, the weaver takes a razor blade and trim all the superfluous straw from the basket – or they will do this a few times during the course of the job. If you still see some pieces sticking out, you can use scissors to cut off these pieces.
Weaving 1 baskets takes from 2,5 to 5 days, including prepping the straw.
The sales of these baskets have allowed many impoverished farmers in the Bolgatanga region of Ghana to attain a sustainable way of living.