The art display at Oak Ridge Public Library for the month of June consists of exquisite appliqué pieces from the collection of Linda Cloutier.
The appliqué pieces are called molas, traditionally made by the Cuna Indians of the San Blas Islands of Panama. They feature an intricate form of reverse appliqué created in vivid colors, often on a red background. Stylized animal and plant forms are often used as subject matter. Molas are generally made in a rectangular shape, then framed and used as wall hangings here in the United States. However, the Cuna Indian people incorporate molas into women’s clothing, often using them as the fronts and backs of blouses.
In Linda Cloutier’s collection, molas can be seen added as decorative elements to three cotton shirts. These designs require a high degree of skill, because the amount of detail is quite extensive, and the process requires working with several layers of cloth.
Colorful birds are featured in this textile collection and the pieces range from a very simple circle to intricate craftsmanship, as seen in the Brimfield Bunny, which features tiny embroidery stitches and precise reverse appliqué.
Cloutier is a member of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America and the Lace Guild. She also works as a volunteer for the Library and the Friends of the Library. She has exhibited her collections at Knox County Public Library and Oak Ridge Public Library.
Please visit Oak Ridge Public Library during the month of June to view these striking textiles.