Kuba and Mud Cloth and Ways to Use It

Kuba cloth (also called raffia cloth) is a woven textile, usually decorated in interlocking patterns and made by the Kuba tribe of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mudcloth, on the other hand, is a dyed fabric from Mali that's decorated in linear geometric patterns. Both are durable, long-wearing fabrics that fit in well with modern decor.

Because of their durability, Kuba and mud cloth make great upholstery fabrics. They're frequently used to make pillows, table coverings, and wall hangings. They can also be framed and hung on the wall as artwork.

When purchasing textiles, it's always a good idea to stick to reputable retailers. In Congo, particularly, internal conflicts and war make it difficult to figure out whether products are being traded fairly. The Fair Trade Federation, based in Washington DC, helps concerned shoppers by labeling North American retailers with their "Fair Trade" stamp, meaning that they agree to adhere to guidelines for fair trade, including the supply chain of products "from point of origin to point of sale." You can find retailers certified by the Fair Trade Federation here.

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