Mud cloth, also called bógólanfini, is a handmade cotton textile most commonly made in Mali. It is traditionally worn as clothing by both men and women and the designs are rich in cultural significance. In traditional bógólan production, men weave the fabric in thin strips that are sewn together to create a larger piece of cloth. Women then dye the fabric by soaking it in a bath of dye made from the leaves of the n´gallama tree and finally it is painted in intricate designs using a special dye made from fermented mud. With the recent rise in popularity of mud cloth, more modern and faster means of production are now commonly used for the dying process, though the weaving is still done by hand on a loom.
Mud cloth itself is thick and somewhat raw in texture, it is not smooth like most machine-made cotton textiles. The whites tend to be off-white and quite often the pattern is imperfect, but honestly these are attributes that make me love the textiles even more. Sometimes you can even still catch a scent of the cooking fires from the village in which it was made!
Mudcloth makes for amazing pillows and floor cushions, it is thick and sturdy and will hold up for years to come. It also can turn your average piece of upholstered furniture into something truly magical!
Local to the Portland area and interested in having a piece of furniture revamped? Drop us a line, we'd love to chat!