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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fair Trade Genuine Bogolan Mud Cloth is now available at Oshun Spirit Earth Friendly Goods and at our new storefront on Addoway.com

We are so very excited to introduce a new line of beautiful, authentic mud cloth accessories on our website and through our new storefront at Addoway.com.

Each piece is made of 100% cotton, and is completely hand-made. The fabric is softer than it looks, and is very comfortable to wear as clothing. I adore the mud cloth scarves to add eye-catching patterns and a sense of global style to basics.

Mudcloth is made using an ancient and extensive process. The making of mudcloth is a time-consuming process, normally taking four days to a week to complete depending on weather. The fabric is all hand spun making a number of individual cloth strips. Each strip of cloth is then sewn together. The entire piece of fabric is then dyed in tea made from Bogalon tree found in Mali, West Africa. The tea acts as a fixative for mud painted designs that are hand painted using specially prepared mud. Some parts of the fabric are then bleached after the entire process is complete to produce the "white" areas

Normally mudcloth is made totally from scratch. The men start the process by weaving cotton thread on a loom. The loom is normally hand-held and makes a strip of cloth five to six inches wide and then sewn together. Women have traditionally painted and designed the cloth.

The first step in making the cloth is to set it in a solution that dyes the cloth yellow and acts as the fixative: typically this is a tea made from the Bogolon tree which is native to Mali, West Africa. The mud designs are then hand painted onto the cloth with the tea acting as a fixative for the mud dye. The mud used to make mudcloth is usually mixed with water and then set aside to sit for about one year. 

Using twigs or metal instruments the artist will paint the designs with the mud, being sure to saturate the area so it will not wash out. The fabric is then washed and another layer is applied over the first. The fabric is then dried and put in an organic solution to make the patterns appear darker. Finally, on black and white fabric, a soda is painted on to the areas that have no patterns. This bleaches the fabric causing it to regain its original cotton white.

A mudcloth artist is much like any western artist dealing in a specific field. Each concept must be taught and learned over a long period of time. A person wishing to work in the art of mudcloth has to be taught how to make each of the different dyes out of organic  Each color in a mudcloth sheet has its own meaning. The most traditional coloring has been the black background with white designs. This is typically used for story telling or the portrayal of a proverb.

Another color popular among hunters, and the Fulani people is the rust. This color is preferred as it does not show dirt and also as it is supposed to represent the strong supernatural powers that protect the hunters. Because mudcloth is made from the soils, it has been used as a form of camouflage.

At Oshun Spirit Earth Friendly Goods we offer a beautiful selection of Genuine Mud Cloth accessories including homegoods, scarves, purses and Kufi hats.

The Fair Trade Mud Cloth you purchase from Oshun Spirit helps feed children, and helps women in the developing world by providing fair wages, safe working conditions, job training, opportunity, and empowerment. For example, your order of $50 provides orphaned children in Mali with 8 meals in addition to providing a living wage for the craftspeople who have produced these goods.  By purchasing products through fair trade programs, you are supporting a great cause and giving a thoughtful, one-of-kind gift. 

I hope you will shop our collection of Fair Trade clothing and accessories, textiles, totes and bags, and home goods, and BE part of the change you wish to see in the world!

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