Tuesday, October 16, 2012


To be honest, in the other places we’ve been, not many of the local crafts, artwork or clothing have really interested me. Most of it just seems like the same thing over and over again or like it was mass produced in Indonesia. But not the mola. I literally want to buy one for everyone I know, which is making Vlad a tad nervous about our cruising budget.

Perhaps my mola obsession is no real surprise. Both my older brother and sister had a mola on their door when we were growing up, a keepsake from when my mom sailed through the San Blas in the 70s. When I was a kid, I was infatuated with the one foot by one foot swatches of colorful fabric. Now, I buy them and then spread them all out, look at them, and force Vlad to look at them. Then, several days later, I repeat the process. It's a sickness, I tell ya. 

Vlad's mom negotiating mola purchases.

Here's a few fun facts about the mola. A mola is a square of layered fabric with a pattern cut or sewn into it, and they range from geometric shapes to animals to Kuna representations of rocket ships. They are one of the mainstays of the Kuna economy and are sewn together painstakingly by the women of each village. Here in the islands, you can purchase them from $5 to $30 depending on the quality, and you can haggle somewhat on the price. They can cost more, of course. What doesn't? But that's a pretty standard range.


  1. They are just beautiful. I understand your obsession. How great would one look framed in our salon? really great- must get to Panama!!

  2. I say buy all of them that you love. Put them away and if you and Vlad ever have kids, decorate the nursery with them. If you don't have kids, you can make an unusual 'wallpaper' border in a sunny room. There is nothing to lose! I love the one with the chameleons.