Lake Ziway Artisans

Due to the unique history in Ziway, artisans in this area offer a blend of Oromo and Tigraian style crafts. Known for their weaving, the artisans on Tulu Gudo create stunning scarves, blankets, and other home décor items in red, black, and white. In recent years, there has been a movement among artisans to return to the tradition of growing and weaving with cotton, leaving behind the brightly colored, imported yarns. However, visitors can still find both styles in the markets. Other crafts found in the area include wonderful traditional baskets, using both natural and dyed grasses to create intricate patterns, and whimsical carvings made from wood and horn.

People from Bochessa and Tulu Gudo trace back their ancestors back to the time of Askum as part of their Zay ethnic heritage. They talk about the migration their ancestors to the lake shore in protection of the Ark of the Covenant and how they brought with them different artifacts and skills. Many artisans describe how their ancestors were forced to practice weaving as they faced challenges getting clothes in the new and strange land. To help with the weaving, the people of Bochessa then they started growing cotton on the lake shore. Weaving became a highly respectable trade and cotton one of their main crops. Apart from weaving commonly worn clothes like the qemis, natala, and gabi, the buluko was given a special place in Bochessa. Expensive buluko are still made as dowry items to be given to the groom from the bride's family and the Bochessa weavers have continued to produce cotton clothes for different occasions.

Tsion Handcraft Association

Sales Outlet: Ziway Tourism Information Center and Ticket Office near the shore of Lake Ziway and the Tulu Gudo Tourism Cooperative Community Restaurant on Tulu Gudo Island. 
Location: Tulu Gudo Island, Oromiya, Ethiopia
Contact: Meseret Ideo +251 192 1516 358 (Amharic only)

The Tsion Handcraft Association boasts 15 women engaged in basket making in the association. Typically made in bright pinks, purples, and greens, the baskets are used for both household tasks and decoration. There are also 8 traditional weavers that create quilts and other home décor items by combining woven strips of cloth. They weave mainly in red, black, and white motifs creating a stunning modern design which contrasts wonderfully with the traditional textile weave. Working with an international designer, both the weavers and basket makers have created new, contemporary designs that blend their traditional skills and motifs with modern designs.

Hara Denbel Cultural Handcraft Association

Sales Outlet: Ziway Tourism Information Center and Ticket Office near the shore of Lake Ziway and Association's Workshop in Bochessa near the Farmers Training Center. 
Location: Bochessa, Ziway, Ethiopia
Contact: Abiti Degaga +251 921 361669 (Amharic and Afan Oromo only)

Including 10 women and 8 men, the Hara Denbel Cultural Handcraft Association creates intricate baskets, primitive wood carvings and hand woven textiles. The baskets are unique and colorful and the carvings, made of local wood, are tinted with sap from local trees and depict local wildlife and birds. Textiles from the area are subtle, often incorporating only white and one other color in a striped pattern. Scarves, towels, tea towels, and napkins are the group's specialties. Additionally, a few innovative artisans recycle rice bags, embroidering them into cushions and handbags and decorate umbrellas with macramé and tassels.

Uta Wayu Handcraft Association

Sales Outlet: The Ziway Tourism Information Center and Ticket Office near the shore of Lake Ziway and the Association's workshop in Jedo Kombolch Town near Bulbula (call for directions). 
Location: Ziway, Oromiya
Contact: Ato Abu Kurcho +251 191 104 1397(Amharic and Afan Oromo only)

The 6 artisans that comprise the Uta Wayu Handcraft Association create highly creative sculptures inspired by the many indigenous birds. The artisans use all they can from the natural resources available. They work wood, calabash gourds, cowry shells, skin, beads, and horn into sculptures, key rings, wallets, children's mobiles and jewelry.

Traveler's Testimonial

"A wild and beautiful place - only a few days here but really enjoyed it. Stunning scenery and wildlife."

Simone Cole - BBC

"Our visit with you was far & away the high point of the trip."

Erin Chapman - D.A.T.A., USA (experiencing community tourism in Ethiopia on a trip with Brad Pitt)

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