The Ashanti Region of Ghana, with Kumasi at its heart, is famous the world over for its crafts. Some of Ghana’s top artisans are in the business of Ashanti crafts such as Kente cloth weaving, wood carving, brass smithing, pottery making and glass bead making. While you can find any of these items within the city of Kumasi, you can see how they’re made and buy from the sources with visits to the surrounding Ashanti craft villages.
Scattered in the rural areas surrounding Kumasi, you’ll find a string of small villages, each specializing in a certain craft item. In Pankronu, located just two miles (3 kilometers) north of Kumasi, residents throw beautiful black and red pottery using only hand tools; you’ll see pieces in all shapes and sized drying in the sun throughout the area. A few miles further north, the village of Ahwiaa is famous for Ashanti-style wood carvings, and shops line the streets where you can watch as masks, dolls, stools and other items are made.
Keep heading north and you’ll reach Ntonsu, a village famous for the intricately patterned Adinkra cloth, used during ceremonial events. Watch as the artists apply the designs with traditional stamps. In nearby Bonwire, only the men are allowed to operate the looms that weave the colorful kente cloth Ghana is famous for. Traditional brass smiths who still use the lost wax method have their shops in Ampabame Krofrom Village, while glass beads are a specialty in Asuofia-Asamang nine miles (15 kilometers) south of Kumasi.