Batik is a traditional textile made by hand where artisans use wax to create a design, and then dye the cloth, which resists the vegetable dyes. Originally from Indonesia, batik has symbolic meanings in its colors and designs, and people use the craft to express their creativity and even spirituality. In this easy project, kids substitute hot wax for Elmer’s blue glue and convey their own creativity by choosing images that represent themselves, and colorful paint that reflect their personalities. Continue reading
The Bogolan cloth from Mali used to be looked down upon, associated with rural, non-Islamic peasants. It has now been transformed into a symbol of national identity in Mali, even reaching mainstream fashion after influencing Parisian designers. Learn about the process, and then paint with real mud on a recycled, old t-shirt to recreate this traditional mud-dyed cloth from Mali. I also included an on-line, virtual mud cloth activity for the mud-averse.
Make a mola: a fantastic example of folk-art from Panamá! Beautiful Panamá: the tropical and mountainous isthmus with coasts on the Caribbean and Pacific that connects the Americas. Off the northern coast of Panamá, there is a string of idyllic islands (an archipelago) called the San Blas Islands. The Kuna Indians were driven out of Panamá by the Spaniards in the 1500′s, and took their boats to live on these islands. They continue to live there today, hunting, fishing, and maintaining traditions. One of Panama’s best-known handicrafts is the mola, intricate reverse-applique handwork made by the Kuna, and now an important symbol of their culture. The layers of brightly-colored fabric form animals or geometric shapes, and are used to decorate the blouses of Kuna women. In fact, the most outstanding designs take hours of complex sewing to complete and is a source of status, and a display of artistic expression and ethnic identity. In the following intricate craft, your kids can make similar designs out of construction paper.
Adinkra is a printed or stamped traditional cloth made by the Ashanti people in Ghana, especially in the village of Ntonso. Adinkra (ah-DEENK-rah) symbols have been used in Ghana on clothes, walls, pottery and as logos since the early 1800′s, when King Adinkra was a king from the Ivory Coast. The symbols each had a special meaning, and some have been passed on for over 100 years. Show your children these symbols, and talk to them about the meaning, the history, and techniques before beginning the art project below.
Photo credit: Cynthia Samaké ©, www.btsadventures.com