what to do with columbian molas
I pruchased 10 beautiful molas (hand-appliqued, 10″ squares, more or less, many colored) about three years ago from Bogota, Columbia, and I’m still awaiting divine or other inspiration as to what to do with them. I’m thinking of making a wall hanging with another latin-American textile as backdrop, but would love your ideas. Some of the molas may be valuable and all are fragile, so pillows or quilts wouldn’t work. HELP!
The reverse applique molas are a craft associated with the Kuna Indians of Panama, particularly the San Blas Islands. They started making them after missionaries introduced fabric and sewing to them ages ago.
When my father was stationed in the Canal Zone almost 30 years ago we purchased several. Many were framed and hung on the wall, usually matted with a complementary fabric.
I took some smaller (2 to 3 inches in diameter) ones and put them on a black blouse with red accents that I made. Then I took some larger retangular ones and placed them on the bottom of a matching skirt. These were not valuable ones, since they were made for the tourest trade.
The more valuable molas are the ones that the Kuna women make and wear for themselves. They are usually more intricate and show signs of being worn. There are some good web pages out there on molas with some more ideas. Set your web brouser on to look for "Kuna" (sometimes Cuna) and mola and even "San Blas". Good luck
*SKB: I am envious of your 10 molas! I begged a Colombian friend for a mola, and finally traded some sewing for it! I wanted to display it but not in a frame, so I added a mitered border, welt, and made a small pillow. My friend has a beautiful, casual blouse with 2-3" mola applications (of fruits) scattered about;I can only hope that she will bring me one like it sometime!I found a new book !MOLAS! by Kate Mathews, Lark Publishing which describes the history and construction, and showcases many works of art and wearables. This book also has many projects for inspiration. Your message has me thinking about trying to create a mola design myself again!
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