Thursday, July 19, 2018

Multicultural Arts for Kids: Molas

August 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Ethnic Arts


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”.

In this presentation we will learn how an ancient tradition of body painting was transformed into a beautiful art form that has gained world recognition for its creators: the Kuna.

Long time ago Kuna women painted their bodies with geometrical designs using natural colors 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 apique 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 color as the layer being sewn, sewing blind stitches, and sewing tiny stitches.


2 Responses to “Multicultural Arts for Kids: Molas”
  1. Libertad says:

    Molas are from Panama not Colombia. They are made by native panamanians.

  2. Victoria says:

    Off course they are made by native Panamanians, but also by native Colombians. “The Guna, also known as Kuna or Cuna, are an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. The current preferred and legally recognized spelling is Guna. In the Kuna language, they call themselves Dule or Tule, meaning “people”, and the name of the language in Kuna is Dulegaya, literally “people-mouth” Wikipedia.
    Kunas or Gunas share the border between both countries, and they really don’t mind about the political line traced 100 years ago, neither should we.

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