Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Day I Liked Spanish Class

So I pretty much hate Spanish. Not because it's not a lovely language, because it is. But, by golly, it sure is kickin' my trash to learn it.

So it is that every day I drag myself in to Spanish class and sit in the corner, cringing, head down, eyes averted, silently praying I won't be called on. I look quite attractive when I conduct myself in this manner.

But the other day, as I was trying my best to look invisible to my profesora, she got my attention. She gave us an art project, and we could use any media we wanted, including fabric.

Did someone say fabric?! I can tell you, boys and girls, I was all ears at that point. We were to make a mola, a traditional art form created by the Kuna women of Panama. Before missionaries came to the area, these women would paint their bodies with geometric designs of animals, people, birds, or plants. After the missionaries came they started sewing clothes and transferred these beautiful designs onto fabric.
To make the mola, several layers (up to seven) of colorful fabric are sewn together and little bits of the fabric layers are cut away to make the design. Then the edges of the cutting are sewn down using tiny embroidery with even tinier needles (called reverse applique). They are very intricate and colorful, and they are done by hand. Take a gander at a few examples:

Here is a close up of a parrot's head, so you can see the layers and embroidery:

Pretty cool, stuff, right?

Our assignment was to make our own version of a mola and we were to use images that would tell the story of our ancestry. Well, mine obviously wasn't anything like a traditional mola. I used a machine and I just did regular applique, not to mention the fact that my design looks nothing like anything that ever came out of Panama.
But my heavens, I sure did have fun.

And for just one day, I liked Spanish class.


Mellanee said...

Abby, this is absolutely wonderful! I'm so proud of you!
You captured your pioneer heritage. The Rocky Mountains, the beehive symbol of industry, the wagon wheel. You should enter this into the art exhibit they have every year at the Church History Museum. You really should. It's totally awesome! Love You, Mom

Kaylynn said...

It's so beautiful. What a sweet mom you have!

Adam and Tara said...

I'm jealous. I hated spanish as well and we never had cool projects like this. I like it. And it should allow you a few more days of invisibility, right?

heather said...

I love it Abs. My mother-in-law is wishing that I were you right about now. :)

Tanya said...

i love that! you really did a great job abby! i am so glad you are back to blogging. i really missed you in december :o)

Kimba said...

I need to see this in huge form. Like, the whole thing. I think you should make your kids clothes. Or at least a few special items. (cause seriously they go though way too many clothes for you to be makin' em....likethey used to do in the "old" days...hmm...) You're amazing.

The Kilpacks said...

Abby, that is beautiful! Good job!

Nick and Stacy Stevens said...

This is absolutely gorgeous.

tom, lisa, jack, and lucy said...

Love it! Love the anthropology-esque color combos... you really should make kid clothes, and let me know when you do!

Abby said...

Thanks everybody! It was really super fun.

And I would love to make kids clothes. Tanya, you should train me. You are the sewing queen.

You saw me when I didn't even know how to thread my dang machine.

I rhymed!

Liv said...

I like your patterns WAY better than the Panama ones.

Jack & Lindsay Chang said...

WOW! Just WOW! Please frame that. It is beautiful! In fact, do more! I would love to see a design like that on a tote or an accent pillow. Great job! I look forward to seeing more of your creations.

Leslie said...

I have to agree with your mom. You should enter this! You have some serious talent my friend.

Bre said...

Oh Abby! That is so beautiful!!! You really and truly have an amazing talent! I can't wait to see your next creation. I agree with all the comments, kids clothes, totes, whatever comes to your mind, you should let the creative juices flow.
Love & hugs,
Your little sis

Kjersti said...

I wish I were as talented as you! I love this!

Also, just as a sidenote, I started Gone with the Wind today. My goal is to have it read before the end of the month!