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Bolgatanga in Ghana’s Upper East Region is synonymous with basket weaving, and the distinctive round-bellied Bolga Market basket with its sturdy handles. Building on the region’s basket weaving heritage local business The Baba Tree Basket Company is producing some stunning gravity-defying basket designs, woven from locally sourced natural materials and dyed in vibrant colours.

The company was started in 1999 by Gregory MacCarthy, a Canadian who had spent some time in Ghana studying the traditional art of drumming. Now living in Ghana Gregory partners with local baskets weavers to create Baba Tree’s colourful basket collections. The Baba Tree Basket Company is a business that adheres to the principles of fair trade. In providing a source of income for local weavers each receives 5-20% of the retail price (depending on basket type) as a commission on top of what they were initially paid for creating the basket.

 

Baba Tree Ghana Woven Baskets Atelier Fifty Five Feature

 

Colourful Baba Tree Baskets Atelier- Fifty Five Feature

 

“These are the people that butter our bread and must be compensated more fully for their artistry if Bolgatanga has any chance of developing.” – Gregory MacCarthy

 

What I especially love about Baba Tree is how each weaver is mentioned by name alongside their creations so that you get to see and know who is behind the product, unlike the nameless/faceless attributions used when referring to artisans.

 

Baba-Tree-Baskets-Made In Ghana Atelier Fifty Five Feature

 

Baba Tree Jemima Akologo Baskets Atelier Fifty Five Feature

And with a basket for just about every need, you’d be hard pressed not to find something that suits!

 

– Tapiwa Matsinde

 

Additional details:

For further information about The Baba Tree Basket Company visit: https://babatree.com

 

[Image credits: The images shown belong to Baba Tree. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
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  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

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