I attended my first International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in July, and was thrilled to support fair trade and folk artisans from around the world. One of the first artists whose work caught my eye is Habibou Coulibaby, a textile artist from Burkina Faso, Africa. Coulibaby is a member of a local bogolan mudcloth cooperative in his village, and was excited to show off his naturally-dyed and handmade fabrics.
Coulibaby is one of more than one-hundred fifty folk artists from around the globe that participate in the International Folk Art Market each year. The market offers artisans access to international markets, and on average, more than $20,000 USD is sent back per booth to artists' native countries. This income often helps sustain entire communities, aids in cultural preservation, and contributes to economic and social development.
Originally from Mali, Coulibaby now lives in Yam Tinga, Burkina Faso. Influenced greatly by his grandmother, his family and his cultural traditions, Coulibaby utilizes a natural-dye called bogolan in creating his fair trade textiles. Bogolan, or "Bogola Fini" in the native Bambara language, is a dye made of clay, grains, tree leaves, and other organic materials.
The process is time-consuming and precise, and begins with handmade, 100% cotton. The handmade texitles are then soaked and dried three times before being treated with alum. Artists apply designs that reflect the local culture, and replicate symbols, signs and masks carved on the walls of their huts.
An expert in traditional dyeing practices, Coulibaby is committed to his craft, referring to it as his cultural heritage. Creating the mudcloth allows him to provide for his family and reduces unemployment and poverty in his village. Through his local cooperative, artisans receive fair wages and young people and women receive training and sales and production assistance.
By purchasing Coulibaby's Bogolan mudcloth, you are helping to empower people around the world through fair trade. Check out his fair trade, African mudcloth textiles available in our shop today!