Bogolan means ‘made from mud’ in Bambara, the main language of the people in Mali. The Bogolan technique of dyeing and printing cotton is completely organic and environmentally-friendly. It contains no harmful chemicals and it uses dried plants and fruit as dye.
Handwoven and crafted mud cloth is cotton fabric made in West Africa. Mud cloth is 100% cotton hand-woven fabric, traditionally dyed with fermented mud. Malian men start the process by weaving cotton thread on a loom. The dyes are made from a mixture of roots, leaves, tree barks and wild grapes and usually painted by the women. It is handmade from start to finish. Mud Cloth is being exported worldwide for use in fashion, fine art and decoration. Hotels in Mali often use Mud Cloth for tablecloths or as decorations for walls, and is also worn by individuals. The making of Mud Cloth is time-consuming and takes about four days to a week, depending on weather conditions, to make Mud Cloth. African artisans hand-dye symbols into fabric in order to tell stories of their villages and communicate African proverbs. Mud Cloth has a long tradition of being used by West African warriors and hunters to camouflage themselves. No two pieces of Mud Cloth are exactly the same; the patterns vary from one unique piece to the other.
Nowadays, people across the globe are wearing them to stand out and celebrate their connection to the African heritage and most often used for pillows and upholstery.