Mud cloth, also known as "bogolan", is one of the most unusual and unique textiles from Africa. Native to the inland country of Mali, traditional mud cloth is woven by men into narrow strips of cotton and stitched together, then painted by women using fermented mud from nearby riverbeds and ponds.

Ndomo in Mali: Mud Cloth Reimagined
Photo: Chayet Chiénin

The traditional hand looms used to create mud cloth are only about 4 to 6 inches wide, so the original cloth is long and slender. Weavers cut and sew them from edge to edge into desired size, then soak the cloth in a fixative bath made from local plants and roots. A mud and fixative mixture is then painted onto the cloth. The motifs painted on traditional mud cloth are rich in cultural significance - Malian women use their drawings to communicate tribal narratives, passing the symbolic language down from generation to generation. After the painting is completed, the cloth is dried under the sun for one day. Artisans then shake off the dry mud, and rinse the cloth to reveal its final image.

Ndomo in Mali: Mud Cloth Reimagined
Left: Bluesy Pete; Right: Ndomo
Ndomo in Mali: Mud Cloth Reimagined
Photo: Ndomo


Our mud cloth pillows and throws are crafted in the magnificent adobe of Ndomo in Segou, Mali. A quiet little town on the banks of the Niger River, Segou is known as the capital of mud cloth. Textile designer Boubacar Doumbia built his workshop there 16 years ago, named it Ndomo - which means "the quest for knowledge" in local Bambara language, and welcomed young people who had no opportunity to receive formal education into his collective. Following the traditional model of youth apprenticeship in Mali, Boubacar teaches professional, people and life skills in the Ndomo community, encouraging his apprentices to become self-sufficient, creative, and innovative entrepreneurs.

Ndomo in Mali: Mud Cloth Reimagined
Ndomo in Mali: Mud Cloth Reimagined
Photo: Ndomo


Ndomo's product design boldly explores the possibilities to integrate traditional aesthetics and techniques into the domain of modern decor. Their hand-painted patterns carry a strong influence from indigenous African art, yet the youthful contemporary spin has made them suitable to compliment a wide variety of design styles. Whether your space is minimalist, industrial, bohemian, or country style, take a look at our Ndomo collection, and there must be something that catches your eyes.

 

 


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