You may not have heard of Bògòlanfini, but you will definitely have seen this striking textile on your travels. Bògòlanfini, also known as mud cloth, is a handmade Malian cotton fabric. It is one of Africa's most unusual and unique textiles. We have recently received a big shipment of brand new mud cloths so to celebrate the restock we thought we'd share a little more about this special textile with you...
Mud cloth is made from narrow strips of hand woven cotton which are stitched together and traditionally dyed with fermented mud. The strips are woven on small looms and stitched to make a piece around 1 metre wide by 1.5 metres long. These cloths have an important place in traditional Malian culture and have, more recently, been widely used in fashion, fine art and interior design. Each cloth is completely unique. The abstract designs found on mud cloth have symbolic meanings, or they represent everyday objects.
The dying and printing can be a long process. The cloth is soaked in a dye bath made from mashed and boiled leaves from the N’gallama tree. This turns it a yellowish colour. The cloth is then sun dried and painted with designs using a piece of metal or wood. The paint made from mud is collected from riverbeds and fermented for up to a year. Thanks to a chemical reaction between the mud and the dyed cloth, the brown colour remains when the mud is washed up. The N’gallama tree dye is removed from the unpainted parts of the cloth using soap and rendering them white.
Sourced by our co-founder, Bee, during a trip to Senegal from our friend Jean Pierre whom we have been working with for quite some time. Jean Pierre works closely with artisans coming from Mali to sell their wares. Travel to Mali has been unadvisable for some time so it would not be possible to travel there to work directly with the artisans, so we're very happy to be able to source such precious pieces and support the artisans this way.
We have a beautiful array of cloths as well as cushion covers available online or in store. Our mud cloth cushion covers are sewn locally in Margate by expert seamstress Nadija from genuine Malian mud cloths. Our cushion covers look great when mixed & matched, or pair with the coordinating cloth for a bold look.