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Kuna Mola Textile: Applique, Sad Parrot- Molita Med 1

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Dimensions: 12"x 9.5"
Metric: 30 x 23.5 cm

Molitas are smaller versions of molas (some history below) that are made specifically for commercial purposes. Quilters, especially, enjoy using these appliquéd pieces in their quilts, but they are appropriate for use in bags, pillows and other accessories.

I carry three types of molas: the original ones Kuna women use in their blouses, and two sizes of the molitas, small and medium. This is a medium one. The molitas are less complex than the molas and more affordable. Workmanship is still excellent. They are machine washable and durable. The second photo shows the back of the piece.

Click on the zoom options for larger images. If you want to see all the molitas in one page, search within the shop using the keyword "molita".

The Kuna Indians of the San Blas Islands make exquisite textiles like this one, called a mola. The panels are used to decorate their blouses, normally one in the front and one in back. They were originally inspired by traditional motifs from their body art and Kuna legend, but later went on to incorporate images from daily life, including the mass media.

The Kuna are found in Panama and Colombia. The women continue to wear molas and being skilled in the craft is honored among them. It has also become an important source of income for them through tourism and collectors. There are many "factories" that imitate molas and cater only to tourism. My supplier lived in Panama for 17 years and has a mola addiction.

The technique is exquisite and the color choices are often pretty wild. Molas are made by combining cut-work or reverse appliqué and regular appliqué. Reverse appliqué is the process of cutting into a background fabric to expose that color of fabric, while the best known form of appliqué adds fabric to the top of another piece for contrast. The Kuna use both, cutting back and adding on top. They accent the design with embroidery.

A mola appreciates in value depending on how old it is, if it was used by a Kuna woman as part of a blouse, how tiny the stitches are, how many layers of fabric were used for cut-work, and for the overall design of the piece. Similar techniques are used in traditional Hawaiian quilts, by the Sindhi people in Pakistan, by the Hmong in Thailand and around the world. But, each culture has translated the technique uniquely and the Kuna are undoubtedly the most psychedelic of them all!

Please visit my store for many more gorgeous ethnic textiles and for things that I make, too. I combine shipping on multiple purchases, ship worldwide, and strive to support hand made textiles from many cultures. Free shipping on purchases over $100!

All sales on Etsy are in USD.

My blog, Fiber Focus: http:\/\/fiberfocus.blogspot.com\/

Kuna Mola Textile: Applique, Sad Parrot- Molita Med 1


  • Materials: fabric, embroidery thread
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 923 reviews
  • Favorited by: 44 people