Mudcloth is an incredibly delicate piece of material that goes through a time-consuming process and is normally made of 100% cotton. It is made by hand, and it takes four days to a week to finish.
A piece of mudcloth can be found in many different colours, and it is usually made from scratch.
A traditional loom is normally hand-held and makes a strip of cloth five to six inches wide. For a normal-sized piece, nine panels are woven and then sewn together. The women then paint and design the cloth.
The Personal Effect…
A mudcloth artist is a lot like a painter. Each concept must be taught and learned over a long period of time, but an aspiring artist must learn how to make each of the different dyes out of organic substances, as well as how each of the substances will react with the fabric and fixative. First, the fabric is immersed in a tea made from the Bogolon tree, which is native to Mali, West Africa. Next, it is hand-painted with mud and left to dry for about one year.
The artist will apply a layer of mud to the fabric, ensuring that it is completely saturated. This ensures that the design will not wash out later. The artist will then apply another layer over the first. The fabric is then washed in an organic solvent and allowed to dry. The resulting patterns appear more pronounced.
After this, the black and white fabric is painted on with a soft drink. This exposes the fabric to harmful bleach, which causes it to return to its original state of pure cotton.