We are so excited to announce our newest piece of decor, handmade with heart for your home! Our brand-new ottoman pouf is upholstered using indigo mudcloth, hand-dyed in Mali, and sourced in Kumasi, Ghana. Mudcloth, or bògòlanfini in Mali’s Bambara language, is a traditional Malian and West African textile that is typically made with—you guessed it—mud. The process begins with narrow strips of cloth which are dyed in baths of leaves or bark and left in the sun to dry. Once they’re dry, the cloths are painted with fermented mud and sewn together to create intricate patterns and symbols, all with different stories, myths, and meanings behind them.
We love the beautifully rustic look of this West African textile, so when we expanded to Ghana, we knew we needed to add mudcloth to our line! We teamed up with a local businessman named Alhaji to help us source the fabric.
Alhaji was born in Ghana but his ancestors came from Mali. As a child, he used to travel back and forth to visit his relatives and he loved to watch them make traditional mudcloths. When he grew up, he thought there might be a market for these textiles in Ghana and began to bring them to local craft fairs to see how they did. People loved them.
Alhaji began traveling back to Mali more regularly to buy mudcloth and eventually built a relationship with an artisan group there. When we met with him, Alhaji was excited about the opportunity to create a more consistent market for their products and the artisans were happy to work with us on custom colors and designs.
We started by carrying indigo mudcloth on our line as a tapestry and now are using it to upholster poufs and pillows, with more items to come! We love the unique story behind this product and the significance it holds as a symbol of Malian and West African culture and history. Plus, we love supporting this time-honored technique, which is 100 percent natural and eco-friendly from start to finish!