Lo siento, (I’m sorry!) I apologize in advance for veering a bit off course for this week’s story alphabet via Spanish words. How can I not include Panama’s unique Kuna Indians in this challenge?
When I lived in Costa Rica, I often visited my friend Barbara, who lives in the “Amador” area of Panama where the Panama Canal merges into the Pacific Ocean. The Kuna Indians’ unique ‘mola textiles’ colored the artisan markets in that area, and I always paused to admire the rich colors and finely-crafted works of art.
My interest at the time was on stained-glass windows, and I was preparing to capture the beauty of stained glass in watercolors. The first ‘Mola” concept was a collective project to nudge Barbara out of a painting block. I sketched the design, and she and her daughter Bobbe and I floated the colors with a relaxed ease.
The next year when I returned, we created another “I Can Do This” project when her friend Donaa visited. We took turns drawing the balloons, then enjoyed filling in colors.
Not scared of color, the Kunas used bright-colored layers of fabric to create the unique textiles based on designs that go back to pre-Columbian times. Long-ago Indians painted those designs on their bodies. The concept evolved into a fine craft after the Indians were forced to wear clothing.
The Kunas most likely would strongly disagree with anyone who scoffs at the issue of global warming. Many are relocating because rising seas are claiming their picturesque San Blas Islands.