With very few exceptions I really do love everywhere I travel so it’s hard for me to choose a favorite place. But there are a few that do stand out as truly special, that will always have a hold on me and Mali is one of those places. It’s a fascinating country in its diverse cultures, history, landscapes and traditions. You can actually visit the legendary Timbuktu, cruise the Niger River, marvel at mud mosques, ride a camel out in the Sahara and spend the night under the stars among the nomads (all of which I did and will never forget). I could go on for days about how cool Mali is but…..

…..this post is all about bogolanfini or, mud cloth – that beautiful textile from Mali dyed and woven by hand using a traditional, very labor-intensive process. I’m still pissed at myself for not bringing back any of the colorful textiles I saw on my trip but I do have one piece of mud cloth that looks just like these and I’m finally ready to do something with it.


Pillows are an obvious option but I think it would be a shame to chop it up plus I’m really liking how all of these upholstered pieces look.

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I could always just throw it over a chair or on the bed…..

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Always a good option for commitment-phobes. (Who? Me?)

If you want just a little touch of mud cloth for your home and you happen to be in the UK, Habitat is launching a bogolanfini textile collection this month in collaboration with artist Boubacar Doumbia and it looks beautiful. Lucky you!

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Isn’t it all so gorgeous?! Oh, Habitat, will you come to the U.S. already?!

In the meantime, what do you think I should do with my mud cloth?

(Photos: 2, 4.via Design Sponge 5.Architectural Digest 6.Elle Decor 7.via 8. Via Apartment Therapy 9-14.via




Man, those are beautiful! I had a similar regret with some textiles in Thailand. I had a small bag and didn’t think it was worth it, but now that I have a home, I really wish I had something so personally meaningful to display!

I think for now you can use it as a throw, or drape it over a headboard until you know exactly what you want to do with it. Once you’ve cut it up, there is no turning back, and in my experience it’s best to wait until an idea really feels right. :)

Deborah Peterson Milne

Two big thumbs up. All of the patterns you’ve shown are winners & how I’d love to own any of those designs. How I’d love to cover a chair in it. What a talent the Mali artisans have; amazing!


These mud cloths are fabulous. I particularly like the first photo with the black and white cloth on the French chair. I second the plea to have them imported to the States.

And I always buy textiles and paper mementos of my travels. I’ve started a collection of dish towels and small paintings and prints from places we visit. They are flat, light weight and are great reminders of our travels.


Thanks so much for taking time to comment! I read every one and reply through my own comments.