Our second Earthues workshop at the farm was The Art of Mudcloth Using Earthues Natural Dyes. When I first learned Michele would start teaching this art, I knew we had to offer it here this summer. Michele has spent an extensive amount of time studying in Mali and now is able to teach the art to us. Bogolanfini (mudcloth) is the story of Mali and her people. Their cloth chronicles their life. The styles of Bogolan cloth vary based on the region of the country and the tribes of people who create them.
Opening another three day intensive, Michele spent the first morning in my studio giving a presentation and sharing some of her beautiful mudcloths that she has gathered in her travels. Students were able to absorb the symbols and colors imbued in the cloth as they started their journey toward their first peices of mudcloth.
Michele obtained this beautiful board in her travels. It is a piece of wood that is painted with a number of mudcloth symbols and serves as reference for painting the cloth.
Katie, our farm helper, offered to be an assitant for the workshop and here she is getting the muds ready for everyone.
And some tools of the trade….wooden block stamps
and bamboo sticks which have been chewed on the ends, as a means of filling in a design area plus a jar of binyenw, a metal tool that facilitates in outlining the design area.
Then the students began practicing with the muds on cotton fabric. First they lay tannin on the cloth and then applied mud to get used to the process. This is Michelle P’s test peice which is handsome as is! It showed the way the various muds interacted with the tannins in the cloth.
As the pieces were painted with tannin they were hung out to dry in the sun.
Some photos of the pieces being created
Lunches for both workshops were great and wine became the late afternoon treat!
Here we are…at the end of three fabulous days having played in the mud only to find it was better than ever!
A very special thanks to Betsy MacIssac of Crooked Fence Farm for all the pictures she took.