What was once a way of life and source of income for many ethnic groups in Ghana, today is a form of art that has become one of the tourist attractions in Ghana.
Vume, located in the Volta region, is one of them. Well known for its pottery making, Vume village is famous in part thanks to the abundant clay deposits which has inspired the women to go into this craft and became one of the major hobbies.
A bit of history about pottery making in Vume
It is said that the people in Vume migrated from the Denkyra area (a powerful nation of Akan people that existed before the 1620s, in what is now modern-day Ghana) in 1701 because of the wars that were going on with the Ashantis.
During this migration they brought their pottery techniques with them. If you think about it, the origins of traditional pottery in Vume began over 300 years ago!
In the past, it seems like pottery was practised more by women than men, as almost every housewife made pots for the sake of housekeeping. Currently, if you visit Vume and start looking around you will notice that pottery making is almost exclusively done by men.
There are a few major places in Ghana known for its pottery production; Abonko in the Central region, Tafo-Adompom, Pakrono and all suburbs of Kumasi in the Ashanti region.
The process of pottery making
Clay is the material from which pots are made. Centuries ago the clay was used to create household items, one of the reasons why the basic shape is predominantly round bottomed. This form was preferred because of their considerable increased strength and the spread of heat evenly when cooking on the local stoves which are made out of clay and use charcoal or firewood as fuel.
The type of clay used is coarse and wet clay. The raw clay is collected from a pit and dug from the third layer of the earth. This clay needs to be sieved in order to remove any impurities.
Once this is done, it is soaked in water to make it moist and usable, leaving it for about two to three weeks. This is important because if the clay doesn’t absorb the water properly it wouldn’t be good enough to work with.
Once this period of time passes, the clay is ready. A portion of it is measured based on the size and type of pot that is going to be made. It is moulded on a wheel machine which spins gradually for the right shape to be created. This spinning machine is completely manual, as the spinning is done by another person who spins the machine while the other person moulds the clay into a beautiful piece of art.
When all of this process is complete, the pots are placed outside in the sun to be dried out and later put inside a large firewood oven to be heated up. It is done with a firewood over to prevent the pots from cracking.
The pots can be then left with the brownish natural colour or painted into any colour and decorated with a certain design. You can find anything from flower pots, fountains, natural cosmetic containers, pots for jewellery, amongst many others.
Vume the pottery Village, a must do trip in Ghana
We suggest you drive to Vume and simply explore and get lost amongst the many pottery producers and sellers. Not only will you see a vast selection of pots on sale but you can also find people at work, stop by and kindly ask if you can observe the process of pottery making. If you are lucky enough you may also have the chance to get your hands dirty into trying to mould the clay yourself. Be aware that it looks easier than it really is!
As we mentioned earlier, the nature in which Vume is surrounded by is a visit in itself. It is located just by the Volta river. The landscape is breathtaking and very serene.
Many locals come down here to collect water with their buckets. The sight of the still river whilst watching how a woman is collecting a bucket full of water and placing it on her head in an effortless way is an activity worthwhile observing and definitely very photogenic (see picture below).
In order to make your day complete, or maybe combine it with a weekend getaway, we suggest you pass by Sogapoke Beach.
Resort for some beach time or a meal, which is only a 20 minute drive away. If you have a look at our article “Three luxurious getaways in Ghana” we suggest the Sojour Cabin as an option for a luxury getaway. This cabin is just next to Sogapoke Beach Resort and if you can afford to spend a little more, your visit to Vume town can also be combined with a getaway in this beautiful cabin which is just five steps away from the ocean.
How to get to Vume
Vume is a small town located near Sogakope in the Volta Region. It will take you approximately 2h to get there from Accra. If you opt for a tro-tro option, your best bet would be to take a shared taxi from Accra Mall to Tema and find a tro-tro going towards Sogapoke. You should ask the driver to stop you directly at Vume.
At Green Views Residential, we believe in the importance of spreading the best of Ghanaian culture to the world. If you’re looking to establish yourself in Accra, Ghana, feel free to pay us a visit and see for yourself the quality of living we offer as a leading luxury property in Ghana.