Tag Archives: Molas

Past Times, Pastimes

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”                                         L.P. Hartley

When I was in university first time around, I came close to being a lost cause as far as Textile Art was concerned.  As a student I under-achieved most of the time and very little of my under-achievement was due to expected student activities like too many nights out and too little work done.  No, my underachievement was mostly because I didn’t have a clue about what it meant (or took) to be creative;  Poor Mrs Parry, and Mrs Burden, and Miss Routley, and the rest of them (too numerous to mention even if my memory allowed it) – they all laboured long and hard to ignite even the smallest spark of creativity in my soul.   Fellow students oozed talent (this is the Textiles Graduate class of 1979) but I absorbed not a single drop.

Textile Art Graduates 1979
Textile Art Graduates 1979

Just as we all had given up finding a technique I was capable of, we came across the work of the Kuna Indian tribe.  Finally, something I liked, something I could do and – most important of all – something I wanted to do.  But within weeks of producing my first piece of “Molas” (brightly coloured felt appliquéd onto fabric as decoration), I had graduated as a teacher and joined the real world.  Life conspired to help me forget the Kuna Indians until a few months ago when I bought a book called Morehouse Farm Merino

Early sketches
Early sketches

The very nature of Molas means that you have to keep your designs simple.  This can be harder than it sounds for someone like me who loves a bit of embellishment.  My first attempt was “Three sleeping sheep with yellow ear tags”.

Keep your designs simple
Keep your designs simple

I’d come across an article in an old copy of Quilting Arts Magazine about cuffs so I turned my first piece of Molas into a cuff by weaving some braid as a fastener.

Weave your own braid!
Weave your own braid!

I really liked the idea of cuffs as wearable art so I kept going.

The moon smiles at the clouds across a starry sky
The moon smiles at the clouds across a starry sky
The Friendship Rose grows in the harshest conditions and flowers come rain or shine
The Friendship Rose grows in the harshest conditions and flowers come rain or shine

As the Christmas season approaches, I’ve increased the size of my Molas work and produced a wallhanging for my fellow blogger, Mrs B of At Home in the Hills (which went down quite well, I think).

Sheep dreaming of fresh hay for breakfast on Christmas morning
Sheep dreaming of fresh hay for breakfast on Christmas morning

So, forasmuch as Shakespeare described the future as an undiscovered country, I suppose it’s worth remembering that the past can be a place of adventure too.

Nadolig Llawen  a Chyfarchion y Tymor!