Mola is a textile art form made by the Kuna people of Colombia and Panama . Molas are made using a very complex technique overlapping layers of fabric sewn together. In the Kuna’s native language, “mola” means “shirt” or “clothing”. We learned how an ancient tradition of body painting was transformed into a beautiful art form that has gained world recognition for its creators: the Kuna.
A long time ago Kuna women painted their bodies with geometrical designs using natural colours from plants and minerals. After the Kuna’s territory was colonized by the Spanish, these same designs were woven in cotton or were painted directly on the fabric.
Molas are hand made using a reverse aplique technique. Several layers (usually two to seven) of different-coloured cloth (usually cotton) are sewn together; the design is then formed by cutting away parts of each layer.
The edges of the layers are then turned under and sewn down. Often, the stitches are nearly invisible. This is achieved by using a thread the same colour as the layer being sewn, sewing blind stitches, and sewing tiny stitches.
The designs usually include images of animals native to South America.
Year 6 have been busy this half term creating their own Mola designs.