Mud cloth drying in the sun

Mud cloth drying in the sun

I recently saw a post about decorating with mud  cloth on Apartment Therapy (full post here). We happen to have a few pillows made with mud cloth in the shop and now I am trying to get my hands on some more of it so I can do something custom like upholster a chair or use as a wall hanging or something else creative and fun.

Bogolanfini, referred to as mud cloth is a handmade Malian cotton fabric that is traditionally dyed with fermented mud. According to Wikipedia, traditionally the men weave the fabric and the women dye it. The dyeing process is apparently cumbersome and long as the cloth is soaked in a dye bath made from mashed and boiled, or soaked, leaves of the n’gallama tree. Then the cloth is sun-dried and painted with designs using a piece of metal or wood. The paint, carefully and repeatedly applied to outline the intricate motifs, is a special mud, collected from riverbeds and fermented for up to a year in a clay jar. Thanks to a chemical reaction between the mud and the dyed cloth, the brown color remains after the mud is washed off. Finally, the yellow n’gallama dye is removed from the unpainted parts of the cloth by applying soap or bleach. [info via Wikipedia]

Quite the process, right?! I am constantly amazed by the techniques that go into making textile products such as this. Techniques that are easy for us to take advantage of here and not even consider the source or what went into making such a beautiful creation.

Mixing modern and contemporary furnishings with global textiles and art is hugely popular right now in interiors and demonstrated pretty well in these two photos from the Apartment Therapy post.

 

 

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 Here in the shop we have one of our mud cloth pillows on this mid century style leather sofa, paired with a vintage brass table and modern task lamp.

 

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 To some mixing the mud cloth pillow with this hand carved chair upholstered in gold mohair with nailhead would be a stretch. I happen to love unexpected combos like this.

 

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 Up close shot of the 2 pillows we have in the shop.