Bolga-Ayia | Handcrafted Baskets from Africa
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Sia’s Story

In the early 1960s, Sia Yambire was born in Bolgatanga, a village in northeastern Ghana, close to the country’s border with Burkina Faso. Like many in Bolgatanga, Sia grew up humbly, living in a mud hut with no electricity, running water, or plumbing.

 

In 1992, Sia moved to the United States, and to make a living, began importing his tribe’s beautiful and world-famous baskets. Since Sia grew up alongside the weavers whom he now works closely with, he is uniquely invested in their wellbeing. Because of this, Sia pays his weavers better than fair trade rates.

 

Now, when Sia goes back to Bolgatanga for four months every year, he is lovingly referred to by many in his tribe as “America Man”.  He is widely known in his village for his good work and philanthropy (for one example, see http://ayinema.org).

If you’d like to see these baskets in your community, please contact our brokers using this link.

Finest Quality Bolga Baskets 

Sia’s baskets


Because of the region’s climate (unpredictable rain patterns, largely infertile soil), Bolga’s people cannot rely on farming to survive. Instead, they are skilled craftspeople.

 

Bolgatanga’s intricate, brightly colored artisan baskets are certainly the pride of the region. In fact, they’re world famous.  They are a symbol of quality, heritage, pride, and hope. Sia’s people, the Gurune tribe, are revered worldwide for their skill as craftspeople, and Bolga is the hub of the craft. Within the community, there are weavers who stand out for their superior skills.  These are the weavers of Bolga Ayia.

 

Since Sia grew up with the women and men who weave the baskets, he has personal relationships with them. They are his family and his friends. Sia loves them and is invested in their wellbeing and success. Because of their mutual love and close tribal bond, Sia is able to be uniquely involved in the production and exporting processes.


U-Shape

u.shape

Large Approximate Dimensions: Height: 13″, Length: 18″, Width: 8″

Small Approximate Dimensions: Height: 8″, Length: 10″, Width: 4″

Round

round

Large Approximate Dimensions: Height: 10″, Circumference: 16″

Small Approximate Dimensions: Height: 4″, Circumference: 6″

Oval

double.weave.oval

Approximate Dimensions: Height: 10″, Length: 22″, Width: 10″

Rectangle

rectangle

Approximate Dimensions: Height: 9″, Length: 15″, Width: 9″

Laundry

laundry

Large Approximate Dimensions: Height: 20″, Circumference: 16″

Medium Approximate Dimensions: Height: 20″, Circumference: 14″

Small Approximate Dimensions: Height: 18″, Circumference: 13″

Pot

pot

Approximate Dimensions: Height: 12″, Base Circumference: 16″, Top Circumference: 12″

Fruit

fruit

Approximate Dimensions: Height: 8″, Top Circumference: 12″

Bracelets

bracelets

Thin band bracelets are approximately .5cm wide.  Thick band bracelets are approximately 1.5cm wide.

Hats

hats

Each hat’s brim is approximately 5″ long.

No-handle Fruit

flat.fruit.keep

Large Approximate Dimensions: Height: 4″, Circumference 12″

Medium Approximate Dimensions: Height: 2″, Circumference: 11″

Small Approximate Dimensions: Height: 2″, Circumference: 10″

Fans

fans

Approximate Dimensions: Length (including handle): 18″, Width: 11″

“Bolga Ayia”

“Bolga Ayia” is a beloved Garune phrase–it exemplifies Bolga’s cultural pride and is reserved for only the best they have to offer.  Sia’s baskets are truly Bolga Ayia.  He works exclusively with Bolgatanga’s best weavers (“Gambibgo”) and handpicks the baskets he sells, ensuring each basket is unique, quality, and free from imperfections.

Bolga Ayia’s heart-shaped emblem is an ancient Ghanian tribal symbol called an Adrinka.  It is a blessing for hope, providence, and faith and means, “by God’s grace, all will be well.”

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Finest Quality Bolga Baskets