What is Mud Cloth:
Mud cloth is a type of textile that has been used for centuries by various African cultures. The earliest evidence for the use of mud cloth in Africa dated back to at least the 12th Century, in Mali, located in West Africa. In Mali, the term “mud cloth” was pronounced bogolanfini in the native Bambara language, which meant “woven cloth made of mud.
Mud Cloth is made from natural materials such as mud, clay, water, plant fibers, branches, and natural dyes.
Mud Cloth Traditional and Modern Uses
Mud Cloth was initially used for rituals, protection, and to signify status. the motif designs had significant meanings to the people in small communities. Today, the cloth is multi-faceted and can be used for various designs from fashion to home decor. It is common to see rooms decorated with beautiful throw pillows, blankets, drapes, wall hanging, and baskets made from Mud Cloth.
How is Mud Cloth Made?
Mud cloth is a fabric made by hand, without any machine. It is a natural fabric that has been used for generations in Africa.
Mud cloth can be made in two ways:
- By making a paste of mud, water, and natural fibers such as banana fiber, plantain fiber, or cotton.
- By spreading dry mud on a loom and then removing it before drying.
The finished product can be dyed with natural substances such as indigo leaves, walnut shells, coffee beans, or fermented corn husks.
Here are the steps to making Mud Cloth:
Traditionally the men would weave the fabric, and the women would dye the fabric.
- Collect the cotton from the field.
- Take the cotton and make it into thread.
- Tisserand (weaver) weaves the thread into fabric.
- The fabric is prepped for dye, and fermented mud is collected from riverbeds.
- After processing natural products and mud, the fabric is dyed
- The fabric is laid out to sun dry.
- In the final step, the fabric is painted, washed, transpired against the dark background.
Caring For Mud Cloth Fabrics
Mud Cloth is durable but should be handled with care. When cleaning your fabric, handwashing is the best option. Make sure to select a mild detergent and only wash in cold water. A good rule of thumb is to test a very small part of the fabric with the detergent beforehand to ensure you are satisfied with the detergent. Once the fabric is clean, dry it by hanging or laying it down flat. This is all you will need to do to clean your fabric. Use a damp cloth and a mild detergent to spot clean the fabric for light stains.
Mud Cloth decor is on the rise. To add a touch of eccentric pop and aesthetics to any room, select a Mud Cloth throw pillow to add to a sofa, chairs, or even a bed. Adding this high-end touch to your decor will wow any guest visiting your space.