SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 2014

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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32 November 2014 SchoolArts Elementary Studio Lesson A Cloth Tradition Nancy Walkup added, and an intricate mola may take between forty and seventy hours to complete. Though traditional mola subjects include animals, birds, and other liv- ing creatures of the San Blas Islands, global culture has inspired designs based on movie posters, comic books, and other modern images. Many of the designs are symmetrical, perhaps because the fabric can be folded and two designs cut out at the same time. Molas in the Artroom Share the background information about molas with your students and have them find the San Blas Islands of Panama on a world map. Ask them to choose local animals or birds to serve as their subject matter. Explain that and exhibited, providing an economic benefit for the Kuna. How Molas Are Made Each mola consists of two-to-seven layers of cotton cloth, and usually come in red, black, and orange. Pieces of the top layers are cut out, folded back, and hand-stitched down to expose the underlying colors. The process of cutting away the fabric is some- times described as "reverse appliqué," since layers of cloth are removed rather than stitched to the surface. Embroidery stitches of colorful thread are sometimes A mong the Kuna people in the San Blas Islands of Panama, there is a tradition of making brightly colored panels of cloth called molas. In the Kuna language, mola is the word for shirt or clothing. A mola is made from many layers of fab- ric, and the artist cuts out shapes from the top layers to show the beautifully colored fabric below. Molas are tra- ditionally made in pairs and worn by the Kuna women and girls to serve as front and back panels of the blouses they wear every day. Nowadays they are also sold to collectors to be framed A mola is made from many layers of fabric, and the artist cuts out shapes from the top layers to show the beautifully colored fabric below. MOLAS

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