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.