Robert Ayine Anaba
Handwoven fans and Bolga baskets in West Africa
"I became interested in basketry from my late father, who was a great basket weaver and taught me. I liked the way he wove them with joy.""I was born in the Upper Eastern Region of Ghana in 1954. I weave Bolga baskets. I became interested in basketry from my late father, who was a great basket weaver and taught me. I liked the way he wove them with joy and sent them to his customers on time or even before a deadline.
"I use straw to create my weavings and it cannot be recycled, reclaimed or reused. My favorite designs are laundry baskets.
"I get my inspiration from God and my hardworking father. This craft has been a gift from God to my family. I've been able to teach the craft to two others.
"It was extremely difficult to start on my own because I was used to working in a group. I didn't have enough money to start off on my own and it was not easy. I work with my family and I organize the tasks. My wife twists the straw and my son colors it while I do the weaving.
"A difficult time was when I had to pay fees, provide for my family and purchase materials at the same time. It wasn't easy, but I thank God Almighty for helping me overcome my financial problems.
"Once, while walking with my weaving straw, someone walked up to me and asked how much I wanted for a broom because he wanted two of them. I smiled and told him I didn't have brooms but weaving straw. I still smile whenever I remember this.
"My dreams for the future are to build my own house and one day run my own company."