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Anatomy of a Bolga Basket

June 07, 2024

Anatomy of a Bolga Basket

Firstly, you may ask, what is a Bolga Basket? Bolgatanga is a town located in the upper Northern part of Ghana. It is a dry and hot land with limited season for farming. For many generations, the people of this area have diversified their skills by creating baskets in the off farming season. The baskets created use bright colours and beautifully intricate designs. Made from tough grass straw grown in abundance in Ghana, not only are the made from natural sustainable materials but they are highly functional and durable. For these reasons, they have become internationally renown and commonly referred to as "Bolga Baskets".

While our weaving centre is located in Accra, and not Bolgatanga as such, most of our team originate from Bolgatanga and the surrounding villages. They have relocated to Accra in order to find secure incomes.

Each basket is handcrafted using skills passed through the generations, an individual artform. When we say no two baskets are ever the same, what we are saying is that this is what truly defines Bolga baskets.

They are pieces of individual expression and this is what makes them so damn special. The designs, colours, shape and technique is unique to the weaver who handcrafted it. Each basket is an interpretation of life in Ghana. Mothers are weaving while cooking, feeding, nursing, cleaning, schooling their children. Fathers are weaving while growing crops and brothers and sisters are watching, learning and developing their own take on the craft. It’s a balance of life and artistic feeling.

Do not buy our baskets if you expect perfection. Do not buy our baskets if you expect symmetry and consistent sizes. Do not buy our baskets if you expect no flaws.

Buy our baskets if you truly appreciate art. If you want to carry a piece that represents someone’s individual personality and talent. If you expect a purposeful, durable functional piece of art, then a Bolga basket is perfect for you.

What a boring world we would be in if all artists created the same painting using the same brush.

We thought about creating consistent designs and patterns but we realised we would be removing the joy from the creator. For art is expression and this is how we represent the communities in Bolga. We don’t want to mass produce carbon copies and turn people into factory labourers. If we were a profit making giant like mass department stores then yes, this is the path we would head down. But this completely dilutes our business ethos of supporting artisan communities and we shouldn’t lose sight of that. What right do we have to enforce westernised ideals on standardising products just due to the fact that’s what we are used to? If quality is there then what’s the problem? So we rebel against perfection and educate on the anatomy of a Bolga basket. And rather, we bring you a day in the life of rural Africa.

 

 




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