|In this craft project, students make their own molas from paper instead of fabric. The methods of designing used in reverse applique are the same when using paper. However, the use of paper instead of fabric is much easier to do.|
|Both the crab and the turtle pictured here|
are my teaching samples of paper molas.
The largest pattern is typically cut from the top layer, and progressively smaller patterns from each subsequent layer, thus revealing the colors beneath in successive layers. This basic scheme can be varied by cutting through multiple layers at once, hence varying the sequence of colors; some molas also incorporate patches of contrasting colors, included in the design at certain points to introduce additional variations of color.
Molas vary greatly in quality, and the pricing to buyers varies accordingly. A greater number of layers is generally a sign of higher quality; two-layer molas are common, but examples with four or more layers will demand a better price. The quality of stitching is also a factor, with the stitching on the best molas being close to invisible. Although some molas rely on embroidery to some degree to enhance the design, those which are made using only the pure reverse-appliqué technique (or nearly so) are considered better.
Molas will often be found for sale with signs of use, such as stitch marks around the edges; such imperfections indicate that the mola was made for use, and not simply for sale to tourists. A mola can take from two weeks to six months to make, depending on the complexity of the design.
|Kuna woman selling Molas in Panama City|
The mola forms part of the traditional costume of a Kuna woman, two mola panels being incorporated as front and back panels in a blouse. The full costume traditionally includes a patterned wrapped skirt (saburet), a red and yellow headscarf (musue), arm and leg beads (wini), a gold nose ring (olasu) and earrings in addition to the mola blouse (dulemor).
In Dulegaya, the Kuna's native language, "mola" means "shirt" or "clothing". The mola originated with the tradition of Kuna women painting their bodies with geometrical designs, using available natural colours; in later years these same designs were woven in cotton, and later still, sewn using cloth bought from the European settlers of Panamá.
More Related Content
- The Art of Being Guna, from The San Diego Museum of Man. Retrieved February 19, 2006.
- Molas: the Textile Art of Panama, from The University of Missouri. Retrieved February 19, 2006.
- Rainforest Art. Retrieved February 19, 2006.
- "About Molas"March 26, 2008.
- " Mola HistoryJune 16, 2006
- Making a Paper Mola Lesson Plan
- Kuna and Their Molas
- Collage Mola: Free Lesson Plan Download
- Folk Art: From Mexico - Mexican handcrafts and folk art is a complex collection of items made with various materials and intended for utilitarian, decorative or other purposes. Some of the items produced by hand in this country include ceramics, wall hangings, vases, furniture, textiles and much more.