We recently had a workshop in colour mixing for the women in Lost Opportunities Foundation. For some orders the customer wants specific colours for the baskets they order, and we have to make sure they get exactly what they want.
We invited a specialist in colour mixing to teach the women how to mix better and brighter colours, as this is one of the very important skill to make beautiful baskets. Mixing colours and colouring the straw to get the exact outcome that you aim for is an art. If the colours do not match, even the best weaver will struggle to weave beautiful baskets!
Before the straw is coloured it is already split, twisted and untwisted. The straw is then set in bunches and tied together as a ring.
The dye that is used is natural, and is made from stones that are ground into powder. According to the colour mixing expert, these stones are found in the north of Nigeria and in Ivory Coast. The colour powder is mixed with water in large pots, and the pots are set on open fire to boil. The bunch of straw is added to the boiling colour mix, and we keep the straws in the water for five minutes to achieve the desired result. Sometimes, when you want brighter colours, the straw is first coloured yellow.
Here are some photos of the colors we made for the baskets ordered by Happy Planet, to sell in their online shop and in markets around Oslo. All photos by Fuseini Ayologo.