Sunday, June 23, 2019

Molas- Folk Art from Panama

Are you  looking for  a multicultural  art project?  This lesson might be one that your students enjoy!!!

Molas are a hand made textile folk art tradition of the Kuna women of Panama.  They are a symbol of pride of  the Panamanian culture. They  can be  used as  place mats, pillowcases,   bedspread  or on a  blouse. They're made out of intricate sewn  layers  of multi colored fabrics. But the Molas we make are made out of multiple layers  of  cut colored paper.

The students start of by choosing one of many animal tracers that I provide for them. I provide the tracers because I do this lesson with 1st grader. They do have the option to create their own animal and some times students do create their own animal.

After the animal is cut out, the next step is to make a layer  of color around it. The layer has to be a different color than the animal.  They  trace a ' wide margin' around the animal in pencil. I stress that they do not have to trace around any tight spaces; those such as between legs and wings or inside open mouths. After the pencil margin is traced, they can then cut the layer out. It is then glued behind the animal image.

Since this lesson is done with 1st graders, I only require one layer behind the animal. If you want to do this lesson with an older grade, you may require more than one layer of color behind the animal.

The next step is to make the colorful background of repeated squares/rectangles. To make it less overwhelming for the 1st graders, I cut out colorful strips of paper. They then get to pick the colors they want. From the strips they cut out the small squares and rectangles. It's easier for them to cut and less time consuming.

An additional layer of smaller shapes are then cut to add onto the background squares and rectangles. They are given a wide option for these additional shapes.

This is a very colorful folk art lesson the kids really enjoy. It also gives them a lot of options as to what colors, shapes and animals that they can use. I hope you try it out!

If you try this lesson, I would love to hear how it comes out! You can let me know in the comments below.

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