Mola Designs
Mola Designs
Third World Countries Businesses Initiatives
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Mola is made by the Cuna Indians of the San Blas Islands found in the northern coast of the Isthmus of Panama. Panama is a place of beauty and enchanted sunsets, hugged by the                                                                   crystal waters of  the                                                                   Caribean Sea.     

The Cuna tribe can be described as a matriarchal society and the Cuna women are the ones who make the "Mola".  She also designs and proudly wears the "Mola" as part of her evolving culture. "Mola" means  blouse in the Cuna's dialect.  Certainly, Cuna women enjoy the status of prestige and authority in their society. 

Cuna women select their husbands and their children inherit their belongings.  Molas usually depict every detail of their daily lives.  Molas were first crafted at the turn of the 20th century when their society was trying to survive the Spaniard oppresors.  Over the years, the original tradition of stitching "Molas", have evolved into so called "Modern Molas" which its hand-made techique applique different from the original. 

 

"Mola" is made of usually 3 or 5 layers of colorful cloth.  Each Mola features a different theme, honoring their way of living and surroundings found in mother nature.  For example, birds, insects, aranids, felines, canines, flowers, mammals, fruits and people.  Also, geometricals forms, and the depiction of historical events. The designs found in each "Mola" are first draw on paper and then, stitched out.  Then, the sculptor transfer the design to a layer of fabric, cutting slits through the layers with scissors to allow different layers of clothes shown through.  As, she cuts, she starts stitching togehter the borders of the fabric, bringing up her exquisitive design alive. The rough edges of the cloth are turned under and attached with fine stitches to the next layer of facric. The size of a "Mola" can be between 13 X 16 inches approximately.  

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