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African Market Baskets from Bolgatanga, Ghana
These gorgeous baskets come from the area around Bolgatanga in northern Ghana, hence being known as Bolga baskets.
The veta vera straw is collected from the top of the grass stalks, then split in half vertically before being rolled back together in tight twists to give it strength. Bunches are put into boiling dye and then dried.
The weavers select the best straw for the various parts of the basket and start weaving from the base, working up to the rim which is then woven horizontally around to create a tube like edge.
Bits of straw are left sticking out during the weaving process and these are then trimmed off at the end. A large round basket can take up to 3 days to make - longer if the design is more complex.
The handles are made with the strongest straw pieces before the leather is skillfully applied.
The round baskets were originally made without handles and used as sieves during the brewing process of an alcoholic drink created for important occasions.
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