Pages from Willow’s book Paisley Pig & Friends: A Multicultural ABC (click images for larger views)
The original barkcloth is not a woven fabric. It is made primarily from the inner bark of mulberry or fig trees that is soaked and beaten until the wood fibers soften, like felting. It was used across the southeastern seas, from Japan and Polynesia to Africa. Differences in colors and patterns provide clues to the barkcloth’s country of origin. Click here for wide-ranging examples.
You can find detailed information on the tapa/kapa style of non-woven barkcloth, common to Oceania here.
For information on the manufacture of Samoan barkcloth, called Siapo, and lots of images click here.
The example to the left, from Fiji, is in my private collection.
Click on this image to download a 2-page activity! Then check the solution page.
Here are some samples of woven barkcloth (click for a larger view)
Here are 2 of the images I have created in the barkcloth style (click for large images)
What will your Barkcloth Penguins look like?
Will you send me a picture of your finished artwork? You can email it to: email@example.com.