How to decorate with African mudcloth pillows

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Mudcloth or Bogolanfini pillows are pillows that are indeed made from mud. In general, it is a term used to describe textiles whose entire production is done by hand, no machines involved. African mudcloth pillows for interior decoration started hundreds of years back, in the 12th century. 

  • This article will teach you some tips on how to decorate with African mudcloth pillows. However, I would like to give a brief explanation of how mudclothes are produced. 

Like I said earlier, the entire manufacturing process that is involved in making mudclothes are handmade. From the weaving to the pattern and print, all were meticulously handmade. It is called African mudcloth because it was made in Africa, West Africa, precisely, in Mali. The male population majorly makes Bogolanfini in Mali. After the materials for the pillows are woven, the process of dyeing and re-dyeing begins.

The first dyeing process is made by soaking the woven cloth in a dye made from leaves and tree bark. This dye is called mordant dye, and it leaves the material with a yellow color. After this, patterns are carefully hand-drawn with specially fermented mud. After the design has been drawn and it dries, the material is washed off. At first, the design will have a faint gray color. To remedy this, the patterns are redrawn and rewashed as many times as possible, until the design becomes dark and is firmly imprinted in the cloth. 

Next, the cloth is left to sundry for at least a week, after which the mudcloth will now be sewn into a pillow. Because mudclothes are handmade, they have limited design and pattern. Because it is dyed, it’s pattern is either butterflies, squares, dots, and any other dye pattern.

Now that I have briefly explained how African mudclothes are made, I will now give you ideas on how to decorate with those pillows.

Three ways to decorate with African mudcloth pillows

  1. Color: because these materials come in dark colors, home decorators are advised to use them in a bright room. Unless you want to decorate your darkroom for Halloween, then African mudcloth pillows should only be used in light-colored and bright rooms. Unlike their limited design and pattern, mudcloth pillows come in different colors – but usually in dark colors. Therefore, you will have a large variety of dark colors to choose from.
  2. Pattern: like I already mentioned, mudcloth pillows come in limited prints because they are handmade. There are no strict rules on which designs to choose from when choosing mudcloth pillows. It is primarily your choice when you want to select a pattern.
  3. Style: since mudcloth pillows can be likened to throw pillows, you can also arrange them like you would your throw pillows. You can place them in odd numbers, in 3’s or 5’s. I advise you to have a maximum of 5 pillows on a sofa or a bed else they will cause a nuisance. Also, just like throw pillows, mud pillows come in different sizes. You are advised to place the small-sized pillows closest to the center of your cushion or bed. At the same time, the large ones should be placed outside, nearer to the edge of the bed or the armrest of the cushion.

Mudcloth pillows have become trending in the states and other western countries because of the skill that West African’s display while manufacturing them. Their well-made patterns show how skilled the people of Mali are. You should get yourself  African mudcloth pillows for interior decoration.