The Journey of a Bolga Basket
Bolga basket weaving originated in Ghana's Northern region, Bolgatanga. The area's dry soil paired with erratic rainfall and harsh weather conditions makes farming challenging. Basket weaving began as a means to supplement the income of the Frafra people, the main ethnic group of Bolgatanga. Over time, the tradition has been passed down among generations and has become a key part of Ghana's arts culture.
A 16" market basket once finished will have over 25,000 knots
and have taken 2 1/2- 4 days to weave, not including prep
The basket making process begins by collecting Veta Vera grass, a wild grass found near the town of Kumasi.
The top of the grass stalk grows with broom-like flowers which are removed for weaving, known locally as Kinkanhe grass. When cut, the root is left in the soil to regenerate. The grass is then dried and trimmed to even lengths. Next, grasses are soaked in water and then split in half. The split strands are twisted in order to strengthen the grass.
After twisting, straw is untwisted and braided into bunches for dying.
Dye is mixed in boiling water. Grasses can then be added to soak until the right color is achieved.
After the dyed straw dries the process of weaving can begin.
Weaving begins at the base and works up the rim.
The basket is then sent off to a skilled leather artisan who adorns the handles with goats leather.