Panama City, Panama ~ January 17, 2006
I'm sorry about the lousy photo quality, but I couldn't resist taking pictures of several of the framed molas hanging in the restaurant area of a hotel we stayed in. Molas are a very particular kind of reverse applique stitchery made by the Indians in the Kuna Islands of Panama. Every little detail is stitched by hand, the edges of the cloth are turned under, and you end up with layer upon layer of beautifully intricate stitching as well as fascinating, artistic designs. As you can tell, I love molas. They were originally made to be worn as blouses by the women. When the sleeves and the seams wore out, they would take the design off and make it into a new blouse. Now they are sold to tourists as artwork in its own right with ragged fabric edges rather than turning into something to wear. The ragged edges are usually hidden under a frame.