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Explore colorful fiber arts of the Kuna Indians. Work with classmates to create a vibrant Mola Mural to showcase contemporary and traditional motifs.
Get to know about Kuna fiber arts traditions. Invite students to find out about the Kuna Indians who live on the San Blas Islands near Panama. In this culture, the women usually create beautiful stitched artwork called molas. The shapes in this artwork often resemble indigenous animals or plants and are usually surrounded with ovals, dots, geometric shapes, or repeated images. Organize text and Internet resources for students to view during their investigation of this culture and their art.
Provide an opportunity for students to share their learning about the Kuna Indians and their art. Inform the group that they will be creating a class mola mural. In preparation, students select a theme, such as fish, and find pictures of authentic mola patterns. Have students use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to sketch original patterns reflecting the selected theme.
Cut fabric sections for the mural. Select a light-colored cotton or 50/50 cotton/polyester blend cloth. Use Crayola Scissors to cut it into a pre-determined size of squares or rectangles.
Working in teams of two, students design their molas. Encourage each team to outline the mola's main character in the center of the cloth with Crayola Fabric Markers. Make more outlines, each within the other, following the contours of the character. Add other bright colors between outlines.
Students fill the space around the main character with simple geometric shapes. Halo some of them with colorful outlines, too. Fill the entire rectangle with brilliant colors. The team's mola is for display only, so there’s no need to heat-set the colors.
Assemble the mural. Teams carefully trim their rectangles. Use Crayola School Glue to attach it to poster board to display with classmates’ molas. Have the class determine an area in the school hallway where their striking mural can be viewed and appreciated by schoolmates.
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