Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mudcloth DIY?

via NYT

So we are delayed a bit...because I was sick AGAIN.  I started my new job Feb 2, and I have had 2 (3?) horrible cold/flu things since I started.  I'm regretting not getting the flu shot this year.

But today I'm at 75% and bringing up mudcloth....since it is almost warm, I'm starting to dust off the fabric dying aspirations.  I started the post almost a year ago, never finished, then saw Amber Lewis's new wallpaper for Studio Four and thought "I should revisit mudcloth."  Then I got sick, and now it is time for a weekly devotional and I realized I have no business telling you what was on the internet last week because I was just surviving.  Literally, if it wasn't on NPR during my commute it didn't happen.

Mud cloth.  It hails from Mali, where those awesome mud towers are.  There is a lot going on in Mali, but right now the first world is pretty focused on boglanfini (the official term for mud cloth).  I've seen peices show up in British and European shelter mags for ages.  Earliest link I had in pinterest was this before and after from Apartment Therapy.  Fo' real mud cloth is dyed with fermented leaves, fermenting mud, and treated with bleach.  Design Sponge has a quick write up, but the Smithsonian site is the best--interactive, with sound (heads up cube dwellers), and has a design your own feature.

from Timber & Cloth's portfolio 
Needless to say, I'm not going for the authentic process if I'm looking to make it myself...I just enjoy the graphic, hand drawn feel.

And if you think about it, since the real stuff is made of strips of cotton sewn together into large sheets, and multiple sheets are used to upholster the pieces highlighted here, it would be a good DIY: you wouldn't have to worry about the monotony of making enough of one pattern to cover a settee, there is room for trial and error, and you can scale it to your working space.  Apartment Therapy used iDye and Elmer's gel glue....presumably you could bust out some wax and approach it like batik, but lotsa people seem to be doing this Elmer's gel glue thing (seriously, search on Pinterest).  I'm inclined to hit some black fabric with a Clorox bleach pen (like this) or this Discharge agent from Dharma Trading because I shudder at the thought of gallons of black dye.  


Regardless of whether and how you pull the trigger, these should improve the doodling on the margins of your legal pad.  

It's good to get a peice of the real deal may find that your home made stuff is more summer project for the kids, and that the real stuff is worth collecting--bonus:  new hobby!  I've been checking these out for fair trade stuff (here, here), and eBay.  Etsy seems to have a fair amount, too.   

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