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How Bolga Baskets Are Made (With Video Tutorial)

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How  Bolga Baskets Are Made (With Video Tutorial)

Growing up in Ghana, weaving was simply part of daily life. It was common for kids like me to casually pick up a few weaving techniques from our parents or elders, passing this beautiful skill down through generations.

We use vegan-friendly materials like elephant grass to weave baskets, hats, and other accessories.

While those casual childhood lessons introduced me to weaving, it takes skilled artisans to create the stunning Bolga baskets that have become beloved symbols of Ghanaian artistry around the world.

Now that I source and sell these African baskets and accessories through my own business, I have the honor of working directly with some of the most talented weavers, men, and women, from the Bolgatanga region, where this unique style of basket-making originated.

It’s an incredible process to witness, and one I’m lucky enough to see every day through my business.

The Weaving Process of Ghana Baskets (Video Guide)

Making these beautiful baskets from Bolgatanga is a fascinating process that requires a lot of skill and care. You can check out my Instagram page for more details. 

Let me walk you through how it's done.

  • Harvesting, splitting, and rolling the grass

First, the weavers harvest elephant grass during the rainy season when the fibers are nice and supple. They split the grass into fine strands and roll them up. This prepares the raw material for weaving.

  •  The straws are soften with water

Before they start weaving, the grass strands need to be softened by dampening them with water. You know how a dry twig snaps easily but a wet one bends? Same idea here - the water makes the grass pliable and easier to work with.

  • The weavers then dye and separate the grasses for specific designs 

For baskets with fun patterns and colors, the weavers dye some of the grass strands in vibrant hues. They keep these separate from the natural straw strands.

  • Creating the loop for the base

Now the real magic begins! The weaver starts by looping and coiling the wet grass to form the basket's sturdy base. They carefully tension the coils to create a strong foundation. This attention to detail is what sets Bolga baskets apart from other baskets.

  • Forming the base and weaving the design

With the base ready, the weaving starts. The weaver meticulously blends the dyed and natural strands in beautiful patterns and designs. It's like painting with grass! This is where their creativity shines through.

Every loop, every stitch, is done with the utmost care and precision. The weaver's skilled hands make sure the colors pop and the patterns are crisp.

Every step of the process requires patience and precision. It might not seem like much, but the quality of the basket depends on the weaver’s careful attention to detail at every stage of the process. This is the secret to creating a high-quality, long-lasting Bolga basket.

  • Trimming the excess and finishing the basket

Finally, when the weaving is complete, they trim any excess grass to give the basket a clean, polished finish. And there you have it - a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted Bolga basket, made with love and dedication.

A Glimpse into the Weaving Process

How Bolga Baskets Are Made: Ghanaian weavers holding the baskets they made
Rufina Designs 

While I often miss the actual harvesting of the Elephant grass, which typically happens during the rainy season, I have had the privilege of observing the weaving process firsthand. 

The artisans work in the scorching heat, with temperatures soaring over 40°C, yet they continue to weave with dedication and precision.

A common question I get from my clients is about the time it takes to create these woven wonders. The answer, my friends, varies depending on the size and intricate details involved, as well as the skill level of the weaver. 

For a medium-sized plant holder like the one pictured above, it takes 4 to 5 days to complete. Teamwork is often employed to help increase efficiency.

With each basket that joins my collection, I feel tremendously honored to play a part in ensuring this tradition carries on for generations to come.

Get the best African baskets online at Rufina Designs

How Bolga Baskets Are Made: a collection of African baskets from Rufina Designs

I'm on a mission to share the magic of gorgeous handmade Bolga baskets with you. Each one is handcrafted by skilled artisans in Ghana using natural materials like elephant grass.

From sturdy shopping baskets to planters and decorative wall hanging baskets, you'll find a wide range of beautiful Bolga baskets on my website and Instagram page.

When you purchase one of these baskets, you're also investing in the livelihoods of the incredible weavers who make them. Your purchase helps sustain their way of life and the amazing artistry passed down for generations.

So go ahead, treat yourself or someone you love to one of these vibrant baskets. Bring a slice of Ghana's rich culture into your space. With each basket's unique design and colors, it'll be a conversation-starting decor piece for years to come.

Check out our Ghana Bolga Baskets