Handwoven crafts from Panama offered as artwork

Molas, a colorful textile with an intricate weave that has been made for generations. can be presented as works of art to illustrate memories, dreams or experiences.

PHILADELPHIA — Anthropologie has partnered with House of Nomad on an exclusive new collection of Panama artwork and masks called the Capsule Collection.

“Known as the crossroads of the world, we had the opportunity to travel to Panama to find this latest collection,” said Kelley Lentini and Berkeley Minkorst, founders of House of Nomad, a design studio in Charlotte, NC “A country layered with history and culture – it’s no wonder we didn’t come back empty handed.

The duo started by searching for molas, a colorful, intricately woven textile that has been made for generations by the local Kuna community. Textiles can be used to illustrate memories, dreams or experiences and are made from multiple layers of colored fabric sewn together and cut to expose different layers and possibly the overall design.

House of Nomad turned these garments into art by framing them for display. The collection includes 15 of these pieces that cost $695 each and can be layered with other artwork on a console table, paired with other molas on a gallery wall, or used as a stand-alone piece.

Another local artistic practice is making Embera masks where women from an indigenous community are known for their detailed beadwork and weaving traditions. Each mask is handwoven from Chunga palm fibers and dyed with vegetable dyes sourced from local roots, berries and river silt. Traditionally they were used for shaman rituals, and each one can take months. The collection includes 12 Embera masks priced at $425 each, including a zebra, lion, aardvark and toucan.

“We recommend either hanging the masks on a wall as a group or placing them on a stand on your shelf,” Lentini and Minkort said.

The collection also includes pillows, wallpaper and a tablecloth as well as table and cocktail napkins.

House of Nomad sources its supplies in more than 20 countries and works either directly or through partners who work directly with artisans.

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