The other day I posted a doodle to my Facebook page and someone commented that it reminded her of molas. I had to google the term because I had never heard of it.
The mola forms part of the traditional outfit of a Kuna woman, two mola panels being incorporated as front and back panels in a blouse....Molas have their origin in body painting. Only after colonization by the Spanish and contact with missionaries did the Kuna start to transfer their traditional geometric designs on fabric, first by painting directly on the fabric and later by using the technique of reverse applique....As an inspiration for their designs, the Kuna first used the geometrical patterns which have been used for body painting before. In the past 50 years, they also started to depict realistic and abstract designs of flowers, sea animals and birds.
The images of mola designs are stunning and inspiring. (I even started a Pinterest Board for collecting them!)
If you're at all like me, after looking at all that stunning eye candy you want to know how you can make one yourself. Well, I did a little research.
- An *amazing* series of FREE mola tutorials on the Textile Arts Now blog.
- Book: The Mola: Traditional Kuna Textile Art (5 Star reviews across the board)
- Book: Mola Making (out of print, so this one is spendy)
- From DecoSoup a tutorial on creating a complex geometric mola pattern. This one might be interesting to you even if you're not a sewer. It would work for drawing or stamp carving too!
If you're not a maker, you can also buy molas:
- I'm a little blow away by how cheap they are on etsy (here, here, and here). When you consider how long it must take to hand stitch these beautiful works of art, I'm just flabbergasted.
- On the other hand, here's one for $895. The description does say: "A greater number of layers is generally a good sign of high quality. The quality of stitching is also a factor, with the stitching on the best molas being close to invisible as with this example. A mola would generally take anywhere from two weeks up to six months to make, depending on the complexity of the design."
- There are a ton of molas for sale online at Uncommon Treasures.
- I'm kind of obsessed with this mola handbag from Amazon.
Making a mola of my own is definitely on my crafty to-do list. Have you ever made one? I'd love to hear about it!
Thanks for stopping by!