What is Bogolan Textiles?

What is Bogolan Textiles?
October 24, 2018 Lilly
Bogolan Textiles

Let’s talk Bogolan Textiles


First of all, look at these gorgeous African Textiles? As I stroll through the studio some items just catch my attention in a different way. A quick walk around our tight studio turns into a walk through a Pandora’s box. I gotta say, sometimes I feel like I’ve been hiding treasures for a lifelong time! As I re-discover some of our hidden treasures, I can’t help but ask myself. How long have I had this for?

In this case, I do remember. It was five years ago when I crossed paths with an African vendor and a quick talk ended up being a huge shopping spree. As I went through all the goodies he had laid on Indigo cloths at a gas station parking lot, I remember saying out loud, “Oh my Gosh… Oh my Gosh!”. I can guarantee that my eyes were probably really big and maybe there were some stars floating around. There were a few textiles that I just couldn’t put down and I remember him saying to me, “Miss Lilly, you gotta have these!”. Yes, alright! He was right and it was love at first sight!

Well, it seems that it was their time to jump off that corner shelf and make their way to the website. I had to read a little and do some research in order to list them.  Here’s a little info about these beautiful textiles.


This printed textile is a Korhogo cloth


❁ What’s Mud Cloth?


Oh, the beautiful mud cloths, a handmade Malian cotton fabric traditionally dyed with fermented mud. Its original name in Bambara-language is Bogalon, which translates into “mud cloth”. The Bogolan dyeing and printing technique is 100% natural and eco-friendly. The Bogolan mud cloths are made from organic cotton cloths, dried mud, bark, and leaves.

It has an important place in traditional Malian culture and has, more recently, become a symbol of Malian cultural identity. Bogolanfini patterns are rich in cultural significance, referring to historical events, mythology or other objects, mythological concepts or proverbs.


mud cloth

❁ Quick facts on Bogolan Mud Cloths:


Bogolan means ‘made from mud’ in Bambara, the main language of Mali. The Bogolan technique of dyeing and printing cotton is entirely organic and kind to the environment. It contains no harmful mordants or chemicals and it uses only dried leaves and tree bark as the dyestuff.

First of all, Bogolan is the quintessential West African textile that also called mud cloth, handmade in the large part of sub-Saharan in West Africa. Mud cloths are made using small cotton strips handwoven in traditional looms in the villages. Each cotton strip of approximately 15 cm is stitched together, therefore, creating a large enough fabric that can be used for clothing and other purposes.

The base cloth is ready for the dyeing process, which is made by using barks and leaves of special trees. The rich red is obtained from boiling the bark of a special tree and the yellow tones are obtained by soaking the dried and pounded leaves of another tree. Once the fabric is dyed, it is ready to receive the mud, which is often applied with the help of a toothbrush and painted freehand or using stencils.

The mud used comes from the Niger river, which goes through a fascinating process of oxidation reacting with the natural dyes, finally producing a rich black color when it has been dried and washed off the cloth. This labor-intensive process is traditionally done at the banks of the Niger river or in its tributary, the Bani. The fabric is washed and laid to be airdried under the sun.



 Bogolan Textiles

Font: Tripadvisor (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g479214-d2097477-Reviews-Ndomo_Bogolan_Textile_Workshop-Segou_Segou_Region.html)


❁ How to care for your Bogolan Textile:


You can wash mud cloths by hand, in a machine wash or a dry cleaner. Be aware that some dry cleaners will not clean handmade fabrics. If machine washing, place fabric in a lingerie bag and wash in cold water using the gentle cycle and a mild laundry detergent. Each mud cloth needs to be washed by itself for the first time as residue from mud and dye may stain other fabrics. You may also have to rinse the machine before laundering other clothing. Dry flat or hang dry.


mud cloth


❁ It is called the slow movement:

Clothing designer Brenda Winstead collaborates with West African artisans—incorporating traditional hand-woven and hand-dyed fabrics to create contemporary garments. In this video, she describes her first trip to Africa and explains how the Slow Movement philosophy affects her production process.





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