The mad craze over the ancient modern geometrical shapes of Tribal Africa has stormed the confines of the design world once again! Whether it be thru fashion or home decor; these bright, bold, and intriguing shapes have hypnotized the creative flock. These dramatic geometric prints, can be seen in just about anything that provides your home with an aesthetic edge.
The bold patterns have captivated audiences in the form of soft goods, textiles, upholstery, pillows, duvet covers, framed wall art, tapestries, wallpaper, table runners, rugs, blankets, you name it. And it is indeed the perfect MIX of modern age with old word patterns …
Visiting our showroom can be just as inspiring as visiting Africa!
COME SEE our Mali Mudcloth Club Chairs in person . . .
Get comfy in our striking handmade black and white Mali Mud Cloth upholstered club chair. Complete with four different geometric design panels. This is certainly an ‘occasional chair’ that exudes dramatic style and taste!
Where did these modern geometric textiles originate you might ask…?
The inspiration traces back to Mali, technically the ‘Republic of Mali’, which is a landlocked country in West Africa. The region is geologically identified with the West African Craton, and the 8th largest country in Africa.
Although we live in a world where textiles are as abundant as fruit, one must not oversee the time and care with which these fascinating fabrics were made. The appreciation of textiles, and the cultures they come from, is imperative to truly benefit the most from their designs.
Textiles express the individuality of a place in a way that is completely unique to its people and region. Similar to that of wedding blankets from Morocco, kilims from Turkey, and rugs woven in the Andes of Peru. The textile tells the story of the country, and in that regard, you can feel the energy of the people in the fabric itself.
‘Mudcloth’ is a textile that encapsulates the country of Mali to an astounding degree. Mud-Cloth or bogolanfini, is one of the best known African cloth traditions. Bogolanfini is a handmade Malian cotton fabric, which is dyed using a process of fermented mud that dates back to 12th century.
In the Bambara language, spoken in Mali, the word bògòlanfini is a composition of three words. Bogo, meaning “earth” or “mud,” lan, meaning “with” and fini, meaning “cloth.” The word is translated as “mud cloth.”
The step by step process is one that is carried out with a great degree of expertise:
‘First, the cloth is dyed in baths of leaves and branches from trees (this dye acts as a mordant). Then, the now-yellow cloth is sun-dried as patterns are painstakingly painted on it with a special mud. The ‘painting mud’ has been collected from several ponds during the previous season, and left out to ferment. The final and most tedious steps occur during the drying process. The cloth dries as the dark black mud turns gray, and the cloth is washed to remove excess mud. This process is repeated numerous times, and with each application the mud-painted areas of the cloth becomes darker. The yellow areas are painted with a bleach, which turns the yellow patterns brown. The cloth is left to dry in the sun for a week. When the bleach solution is washed off with water, what remains is the characteristic white pattern on a dark background’ (Azzanto).
A new standard of gratitude is set into motion with the knowledge of how Mudcloth is created. Once we become aware of the extensive labor and care it took for the people of Mali to produce these incredible, timeless, and inspiring textiles, we appreciate them that much more. It truly is a labor of love and land for the indigenous people of Mali. You can feel the pride they take in their homeland by seeing it in their faces, amongst their homes, and in their hearts. The beauty and vibrance of the Malian people resonates with great vibrations in the textiles they produce.
As creators, designers, and decorators, one can only hope to bring even a small piece of ‘Mali Magic’ back home with them. Each line, dot, and curve, takes on new meaning when bought to our homes and sacred spaces.
Bold black & white geometric designs of repeating triangles and patterns have been warmly integrated into upholstered chairs, interior tapestries, and throw pillows. Whether the inviting patterns flank stark brick walls, or classy Mid-Century inspired furniture, your ‘designer heart’ will be set free.
What is so inspiring in these ancient lines and shapes is how they manage to look modern and even cutting edge with the right application and surrounding pieces.
One can experience the element of surprise while integrating different shaped throw pillows, with an electric MIX of of geometric Mali wall-art.
The aesthetic joy of Mali Mudcloth is timeless, and manages to match almost any scene with their black and white hues. They can be paired with contrasting pops of color, to give the geometric shapes even more depth in their representation.
Upholstering vintage chairs & furniture with these vibrant prints is the perfect way to bring antique pieces new life. Your space will can be given a breath of fresh air with these updates, while simultaneously inspiring your creative flow.
Experience the Maddening Mali Magic for yourself at Design MIX Furniture!
Throw one throw all… find your pattern in our throw pillows.
Or do it yourself with a bundle of our mudcloth fabric. Great for just about anything from more pillows, to handbag clutches, or reupholstering that stool you were about to get rid of….
Swing by our showroom for a visit, and we will be sure to MIX some Mali Magic into your life!