Grasses used to make basketry in Africa vary from place to place. You will find everything from millet to papyrus. Some grasses such as elephant grass are used in many parts of Africa. While others are very rare and are only used in specific regions of certain countries. Differences in the grasses used changes a lot in a basket. The type of grass used determines what dyes are used, if any. It will also change the style itself as some grasses can be woven very tight and others more loosely.
In order to make a basket, the grass goes through the following steps: gathering, drying, splitting, twisting, untwisting, boiling and dyeing before the actual weaving process takes place. Then the weaving process begins where the baskets are woven and finished. Each of these steps is done by hand in the old traditional way. In all, the process of gathering, drying, dying, weaving and finishing takes more than 30 hours for a single, medium sized Bolga basket. So you can imagine how long these women spend making those which are complicated or large in design!
This is when the ladies use their imagination and create everything from table mats to market baskets. You'll also find woven items as varied as change purses, pencil bags, hanging mobiles or even large mats which are used in the place of rugs. Nothing beats the imagination of the African woman when she weaves!!