Where are the baskets made?
The “Bolga” baskets are distinct to the area of Bolgatanga Ghana which is in the far north of the country, right on the border with Burkina Faso. Initially it was developed bring an income to the region during the farming off season. These baskets have a distinct style, shape, and quality. Once you are familiar with a true Bolga basket, you can easily spot the difference in quality and construction between these and similar baskets from other parts of the world.
In the last decade, the Bolga weavers have seen many copies appear on the market and have formed a coalition to protect the nature of this celebrated handicraft. Our partners in Ghana are helping direct this movement to protect the weavers and their livelihood from “knock offs” from other countries.
What Are the Baskets made of?
They are made of elephant grass, so-called because it grows so tall and strong in the region where these baskets are made. In fact, it was so abundant in the region of Bolgatanga that for many many years that it was considered a nuisance. and basket weaving evolved to make use of an overly abundant resource.
More recently, global warming has lead to less natural elephant grass growth in the area and basket makers have had to ship it in from other parts of the country.
Are these baskets made only by women?
Basket making is an important traditional craft in the region and the weavers are predominantly, but not exclusively, women. The leather handles are sewn on by men who specialize in “leathering”.
How are the weavers compensated?
All our weavers are paid a fair market wage for each basket. In addition we support many initiatives in the areas where our weaving partners live including sanitation and education programs.
What are the handles made of?
These handles are goat leather. In Ghana, many people own goats as a food staple so goat leather is abundant in the region. Goats are an integral part of the culture in Ghana. They are raised in a free range environment and no part of a dead animal is wasted.
Do you make a vegan option?
No, we have not found an option to the goat leather that both covers the handle and does the traditional design justice.