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.
Photo: Chayet Chiénin
The traditional hand looms used to create mud cloth are only 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.
Left: Bluesy Pete; Right: 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 access to 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 independent, creative, and innovative entrepreneurs.
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! There must be something that catches your eyes.
The base material of the Cloud mats and rugs are the edges of cotton fabric, cut from industrial looms. They’re “waste” – a by-product of their weaving patterns – but for the weavers at Barrydale, this raw material is an invaluable ingredient for upcycling.
100% natural and extremely durable, our newly arrived mesh bags and totes are handmade by Khmu artisans in Laos using fiber from a fast-growing vine, Pueraria phaseoloides. It is a perennial vine that self-sows, grows, and re-grows without any cultivation or human intervention, yet improves the soil it grows in.
Itza Wood is a social enterprise in the Petén region of Northern Guatemala. With a team of ten carpenters and coordinators, they have been providing education, employment, and forest conservation to local communities, all through the sales of their handcrafted wood wares.