Enhancing the Effectiveness of Straw Dyeing In the Ghanaian Basket Weaving Industry
The indigenous of the Upper East Region of Ghana heavily depend on Basketry products, an important activity to supplement income made from subsistence agriculture. The traditional ‘Bolga’ baskets, laboriously hand woven, are locally esteemed for their aesthetic qualities among its citizenry and foreign tourist who visit the northern part of Ghana. Nevertheless, the problem of faded dye colour of their basket products over a period of time is a matter of concern to exporters. To address this issue, various production practices were outlined to improve the exhaustion of dye for a given processing time to improve the quality of dyed straw and to adapt new technology, techniques and practices that reflect their ever-changing socio-cultural realities. Qualitative research was employed in the study under which the following methods and data collection instruments: experimental, descriptive, explorative and workshop base approach, purposive sampling technique, interview and observation were used. The elephant grass (“veta vera”) and the Basic dye were the main materials used. The results showed significant improvement in the exhaustion of the dye due to the presence of glacial acetic acid. The indication is that straws dyed in the presence of glacial acetic acid have higher colour values, establishes better dye penetration and relative fastness properties than that of the (natural plant pigment) or the initial dyes used. A careful implementation of straw material purification and systematic approach to dyeing procedures, can appreciably resolve the problem of faded baskets experienced over a short period of time. It is recommended that material science approach to basketry and the exchange of ideas between the academia and the artisans be encouraged. Further inquiry on other variations of straw dyeing will go a long way to keep the creative potentials of basketry in Ghana and beyond.