- story by MaterialDistrict
Kingskin; In Uganda for centuries a unique textile-like material is made from the bark of the Mutuba tree (Ficus natalensis). It looks like veneer but is soft like leather or suede. The stiffened version of bark cloth has more cardboard like properties (stiffened with woodglue).
The Mutuba bark (or Olubugo) was previously used exclusively for clothing for the kings of Buganda, a small kingdom in the present Uganda.
After the dead bark is manually been scraped off the stem, the bark has to be cooked to make it smooth. Then the farmer beats the material with a special wooden hammer. This process takes several hours and during the progress of this process the cloth increases. Finally the farmer stretches the cloth, restores the weaknesses with a needle and thread (grass) and lies it on the grass to dry. Sunshine makes the colour of the material more intense.
- a regular cloth is ± 5 m2 or more
- the stiffened version can be produced in standardized size
- Other naturals