The Magic of MudCloth
I don’t think I will ever get over wanting to own one of every beautiful textile I lay my eyes on. It’s an obsession I know I share with many others, and I just can’t get enough. At home, I am constantly rotating out my treasured textile finds, be it my antique quilts layered on my bed, or a new run of accent pillows I make for my couch, or my napkin drawer that is stuffed to the gills of various vintage sets I use for dinner parties, because paper is not my thing. Recently I have fell in love all over again with Mudcloths. I don’t ever completely fall out of love with a textile, I do sometimes though, feel like a look gets saturated in the market, and I see too much of it that I have to put a pause on it for a while...knowing that one day I will fall in love all over again. So sometimes when this happens, I pack my current collection away and swap for my latest finds. Suzani textiles (Link here!) are a good example of this. I love them, I adore them, I had a suzani draped as my headboard for quite sometime, I made suzani pillows etc. and now my coveted Suzani collection is tucked away, all the while knowing it will make it’s debut again.
You can find these mudcloth upholstered chairs on our site HERE
Mudcloths have come and gone as my favorite too, but a recent encounter turned friendship with an amazing woman from Mali has got my heart racing for them again. Mimi imports Mudcloths from her family’s tribe, and her collection is stunning. I have had the pleasure of learning all about the process and seeing the varying colorways that are made. They are so stunning that I had to buy a plethora of them from her to sell in our Berkeley showroom. So you too can now add to your collection. My thoughts on trends and in this case textiles, is that yes, trends can come and go and styles can change, but artisan made textiles are timeless. Suzani textiles and African Mudcloths have so much history, tradition, technique, and spirit in them that even when they can become ‘saturated in the design world’ I still say yes to them. You can always rotate them in and out of the design of your home, but knowing that someone crafted them with their own two hands and no two are identical is magical to me.
This classic craftsmen rocker comes alive with the tribal print black mudcloth. (Info on this previously sold item can be found here)
Upholstery is just one way to use these lovely textiles. We love seeing them as accent pillows, draped along the foot of the bed or simply hung on the wall as art. Check out some of these great uses of Mali Mudcloth:
Photos from Pinterest ( www.pinterest.com/mignonnedecor/ )
A little more info on the technique of Mudcloth making I’d like to share:
Mudcloth is also referred to as Bògòlanfini, in the Bambara language in Mali. Bògòlanfini is made up of three words: Bògò meaning ‘earth’, lan which means ‘with’ and fini which means ‘cloth’, so that gives you Mudcloth! Traditionally men would do the weaving, and women would do the dying. What they do is soak the cloth textile in a water bath made from soaked leaves. After it soaks, the cloth is then dried out in the sun. Artisans sketch out and draw various designs & motifs using various pieces of wood or metal along with their traditionally made mud. The mud is a mixture they collect from riverbeds and allow to ferment for up to a year in clay jars. It is then used like a paint. The way the clay paint reacts with the tree / leaf soaked cloth is incredible. The mudcloth is then washed off and then bleach and soap is applied to turn yellow areas to white pops.
You can find a variety of mudcloth textiles on our sites textile page, and feel free to contact us if you are intersted in incorporating Mali Mudcloth for a reupholstery project.
Thanks for reading!