I remember being captivated by the simple, vibrant beauty of these panels which are stitched onto jackets and skirts. The Mola started as a form of body art but was later transferred to clothing when missionaries found the tribe.
|A traditional Mola|
Molas are made using a Reverse Applique Technique where several layers of bright fabric have a design stitched onto them and layers are then cut away to reveal the different colours. They can take up to 6 weeks to complete because all the rough edges have to be stitched under. All girls living as Kuna Indians are taught to make the Molas from a young age so the tradition doesn't die out.
|The Kuna Indians photographed with their Molas to the left of the photo|
I translated my findings into a cushion for my final piece which I split into quarters and demonstrated different layering techniques on each quarter, including the reverse applique used by the Kunas.
|The Final Product!|
I find the tribal traditions still in existance in our world so interesting- the way that a whole society can remain untouched by the modern technology that is so present in our world nowadays and still live in their own little self- sufficient eco- system is amazing. Sadly many tribes are being forced to integrate with modern society because the tribal lifestyle simply isn't practical nowadays. The Kuna Indians are doing their best to preserve their ancestry and traditions and, for the benefit of all of us, I hope they do.
PS. One blog worth checking out is The World Effect where they show photography from all corners of the globe capturing everyday life everywhere from China to France to Mexico to South Africa