Monday, June 05, 2006

Knee deep in mud...cloth!

I have a new handbag listed on Soleil Rouge. YAY! It features authentic Mali, West African mudcloth.

For those that don't know what goes into making mudcloth, it’s a loong process.
The Mali men hand spin and loom weave the cotton into 5 to 9 strips of cotton. These strips are then sewn together to create a panel and boiled to shrink it down to size. Then the mudcloth design and dyeing is handled by the Malian women. The panel goes through a process of 2-3 mud "dye" layers, then dried in the sun to ferment for up to a year! Symbols are then painted on and washed and dried in different natural herb and leaf solutions (depending on each Malian artists' technique) to set the design that can take several weeks from start to finish. No panel is ever the same and each tells a story through the symbols on the cloth such as family history/status, proverbs, etc. The mud cloth I used in this design features the symbol depicting good fortune/wealth and the symbol representing a spindle (the 3 lines) a traditional mudcloth design.