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I loved the quilts

But wanted a basket!

When I was Cincinnati last Spring for the International Quilt Festival, I was struck by the variety of vendors selling items that were not really sewing or quilting related.  Case in point was the local Cinci jewelry dealer who sold beautiful accessories made from Thai silver.  I got a fabulous deal on pretty earrings and a pendant, and felt it rounded out the whole exhibition experience for me.

One vendor whose extra large booth I saw only from a distance had a tall rack from which hung what looked to be gorgeous, grass-woven baskets.  However, the crowds in front of this seller, even on the night before general admission to the exhibition, combined with my own aching feet, dwindling wallet and the silly notion that I wasn’t there to buy baskets, discouraged me from pursuing my curiosity.  The next day, I was to regret that I gave up so easily.  My neighbors in the bed-and-breakfast where we were guests HAD braved the aforementioned mob at this unique vendor, and had a large, lovely, incredibly unique woven basket to show for their efforts.  (Inside, the basket was piled high with fat quarters from festival fabric vendors, the combination creating a wonderful piece of eye candy sure to grace anyone’s sewing room!)

I would not have another opportunity to return to the Festival and secure my own basket, but I made a mental note to later look up “Ghana Bolga Baskets”, and was intrigued to learn about the tradition behind this practical art form and that the more reputable retailers are all members of the Fair Trade Federation.  Crafts such as these are thriving throughout the world thanks to Fair Trade efforts, allowing local women to earn their own income while simultaneously preserving their own culture heritage.  I love stuff like this.  😉

Anyway, I went back today to the Baskets of Africa website, and finally treated myself to my own woven beauty:

Here is the link for the Bolga Baskets specifically, available in all sorts of sizes, shapes and colors.  🙂