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This large and striking cushion is made from a mud cloth or bogolanfini from Mali.
The making of mud cloth is a time-consuming process, normally taking four days to a week to complete. Each piece is made of 100% cotton, and is totally hand-made.
The men start the process by weaving cotton thread on a loom. The loom is normally hand-held and makes a strip of cloth 5"-6" wide. After they weave around 9 panels they sew them together and then traditionally the women paint and design the cloth.
The first step in making the cloth is to set it in a fixative solution made from tea. The mud designs are then hand-painted and the tea sets into the fabric. Mud used to make mud cloth is usually mixed with water and set aside for about a year.
Using twigs or metal instruments the artist paints the designs with the mud, saturating the area so it will not wash out. After being washed the process is repeated and then dried and put in another solution to make patterns stand out more. On black and white fabric, a soda is painted on the areas with no patterns causing then to be white. As the textile ages the dark mud colour gradually fades.
The cushion has mud cloth fabric for the front and back, a fringe trim, zip fastener and feather pad.