Also know as Bolga, it is the crafts center of Northern Ghana. For many generations, weaving has been a traditional skill of the people there. The geographical land area of Bolgatanga is not fertile enough for extensive agricultural activities. The region has an erratic rainfall pattern and generally harsh weather conditions. As a result handicraft activities such as basket weaving, leather work, and pottery are undertaken mostly by women to supplement their incomes since they are primarily subsistence farmers.
Fair Trade Practices
This weaving group has a mission: to assist the porr rural women of Northern Ghana in earning good incomes from the fruits of their labors in order to care for their children. They believe when a women can create an income, it puts food into the bowl of a child, and is a way of promoting self-esteem for the women, children, and the entire village.
• Elephant grass and straw is collected from the tops of the stalk, then each piece is split in half vertically by biting through it.
• Each half of the split straw is then twisted tightly by rolling it against a weaver’s leg to give it strength.
• The straw is put in bunches and dyed in boiling water with dye. For bright colors the straw is dyed yellow first, then the color.
• The weaver carefully selects appropriate straw for the base, sides and handle. The selection of the proper grass for the proper parts of the basket is critical to good weaving.
• Weaving starts at the base and works up to the rim. The rims are generally finished flat, or wrapped with straw to form a tube like edge.
• There are a variety of different handles, but all are made with a sturdy wrapping technique around a grass core.
• Remaining bits of straw that are sticking out of the basket are carefully trimmed off. The trimming is important because it determines how the basket feels to the touch.
• Leather handles are skillfully applied by local leather workers.
• A medium basket takes about 3 days to create.
Each basket has leather handles, all baskets with the exception of the 2-handled basket can be crushed for packing or shipping and will easily pop back to the original shape.
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