Bolga, named after Bolgatanga, is the name given to the handicrafts that have emerged from northern Ghana. These crafts include intricate hand-weaved baskets as well as hats and smocks. These beautiful baskets are made by hand and are beautiful to behold. Here’s a guide to making them from scratch.
Starting Your Basket
The tradition of bolga making was quite often a supplementary income for households and a way of showing off the skills of family members. The baskets are made of dried elephant grass. The grass is split into two strands. The weaver then rolls the grass across an old flip-flop to increase its strength. The grass is then dyed to the chosen colour and is ready for weaving.
Bolga baskets require patience and determination. If you make a mistake, it will affect the integrity of the basket. You start in the middle and work your way outwards. There are no seams at all, and therefore the baskets are famed for their strength. Weaving can be a time-consuming process, and a small basket can take a day, with larger items taking much longer and a pot bag taking a skilled craftsperson three to four days to finish. The shape depends on the weaver, and baskets can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Attaching the Handles
Attaching the handles and creating a rim can be problematic for even the most skilled of weavers. This job is usually passed to the most experienced of weavers, after which it is ready to be sold on sites such as http://www.injabulo.com/acatalog/Bolga-Baskets-1.html.
For extra comfort and durability, leather is sometimes attached to the handles by additional craftspeople skilled in working with leather. The leather makes the basket more comfortable to use and attractive. Many of the baskets available to buy have leather handles.
Selling the Baskets
As they are generally produced by weavers to provide an additional income for farming communities, it is very important that the baskets are sold for a profit. There is a large market in the region for weavers to sell their baskets, but for the most beautifully constructed baskets, selling online is a lucrative option. There are compounds set up where weavers can bring their baskets to be sold in the international market using fair trade policies to ensure they aren’t being exploited.