The Bolga Basket
Bolga basket weaving originated in Ghana’s Northern Region from the town 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 from generation to generation and has become a key part of Ghana’s arts culture.
Weaving of the Bolga Basket
The basket making process begins by collecting elephant grass, a wild grass found near the town of Kumasi.
The top of the grass stalk grows with broom-like flowers which are removed before weaving. When cut, the root is left in the soil to regenerate. The grass is then dried and trimmed to even lengths.
Next, the grass is soaked in water and then split in half. The split strands are twisted in order to strengthen the grass.
After twisting, the straw is untwisted and braided into bunches for dying.
Natural dye is mixed with boiling water. The grass is then added to soak until the right colour is achieved.
When the dyed straw has dried the process of weaving can begin.
Weaving starts at the base and works up the rim.
The basket is then sent off to a skilled leather artisan who adorns the handles with goat leather.