Mola Inspired Shirts- Shirt Art

This is the second time we've done this art project, inspired by Panamanian Mola art work.
Molas are layered pieces of fabric made using a reverse appliqué technique. 
Artisans layer different colored fabrics and sew them together. 
They then cut parts of each layer away revealing separate colors and sew the edges down.  
Because of the complexity involved with sewing several layers of fabric, we have used paint as a substitute to create the colorful effect of a Mola and limiting the appliqué layers to one. 

Our original art project was achieved by randomly painting within a rectangular perimeter- directly on to the shirts then sewing a mola inspired design on top of the paint- 
To see the original project (well suited for monkeys ages 'can hold a paint brush' to about five years old) and to read about the origins of the Kuma artisans click this

This time I let my monkeys choose their own design and paint intricate shapes directly onto the shirts within a chalk outline.  
We experimented with designs we found online and cut out shapes-
Using the shapes- we traced one design onto the shirt and another one- about an inch wider- on some navy cotton fabric (already washed and dried).

Monkey One loves fencing and chose that as his design.
Monkey Two was originally going to do an octopus but once he saw it decided he wanted a crab which I free handed directly onto his shirt- 

The monkeys then painted whatever patterns and colors they wanted into the outlined space.
My older monkey was able to stay true to the Mola art form, painting small detailed patterns.  

My younger monkey had fun experimenting with a wider pattern and color mixing.

Once they were finished we let them dry- 

Using the navy cotton fabric we cut out the (one inch wider) shape and cut out the center so that the paint art work would show through.

Then using a zig-zag stitch we sewed the applique onto the shirts.

And a white cross-stitch for the fencing mask

We love how they turned out!
Questions to consider while creating:
What is Mola art? How are we inspired by indigenous and native art work? Where is Central, South America? Where is Panama? Discuss Kuma people and interesting myths and history of the Kuma people.
What materials (medium) are we using to create? Why do we pre-wash the fabric and shirts? 
What combination of colors can we make mixing different colors?


dotblogg said...

nice project for little designers;)
have a beautiful day Ren!

Andrea said...

I love the crab! What a great idea. x

Mama Gone Green said...

Love those! Nice work!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

You come up with the coolest projects. Were you an art teacher at one time? Did I miss (or more likely forget) it?

Shari said...

Those turned out very cute. I'll have to try that someday...when I have a sewing machine!

sherri said...

these are so amazing! I wanna try!

Lovely World said...

What a great project. I wish I was better at orchestrating such things. My husband is much more of a kids' project person.


I just love this idea!!!

Krystal said...

That is TOO cool. Seriously. Your kids are the luckiest :)

tulpen said...

Wow. I could never pull that s**t off. Love the fencing guy.

Lady Grey said...

I just love your family : )
What a great project!

Bending Birches said...

that is AWESOME!
love your ideas, pretty lady..

Clair said...

Great work guys, AND awesome
idea Mom!

Erin said...

I love how they turned out and wish I could do things like that---not a creative/crafty bone in my body.

Valarie said...

What a beautiful project. I have never heard of this type of art and I just love it. We are going to give this a try on the upcoming snow day. Off to get supplies. Thank you Ren.

Brooke @ Let Kids Create said...

This is completely amazing, you are all so talented! I would love to try this, but not sure if my girls are old enough. I think we'll have to try this anyway, it's just too cool not to.

Thank you so much for sharing this on Monday Madness!

Laura @Art For Little Hands said...

Another great post. I am so glad you are sharing your older posts on Monday Madness. I have been reading your blog for a while now so I love seeing the older posts I don't have time to look at on my own. This one is fabulous. I love their painting jobs. I love the multiple colors to try and get the Mola effect. So cool.

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