The baskets are made by the people of Bolgatanga and surrounding villages from sundried elephant grass. The majority of the grass is hand-dyed using traditional natural dyes made from plants and minerals as well as non-toxic fabric dyes to achieve contemporary colours. The natural grass is boiled in the dyes in cast iron or aluminium vats before being sundried.
Elephant grass is a species of grass native to the tropical grasslands of Africa. It is a tall perennial plant, growing to 2–4.5 metres with leaves 30–120 cm long and 1–5cm broad.
Elephant grass has the wonderful properties of being:
- Able to be reshaped
The baskets are double woven to give strength and durability, whilst the handles of the baskets are covered with cured goat leather for reinforcement and style.