All materials for the course will be provided. All one need bring is an open mind, and willingness to try new things in a beautiful place, amongst like-minded friends.
In this indigo workshop, Aboubakar Fofana focuses on powdered indigo and setting up a fructose vat. He will teach us to use environmentally friendly techniques and how careful preparation results in a deep beautiful vat, ready for dipping. This workshop will explain the unique chemistry of indigo and principles of setting up and caring for a vat. The workshop will include several large indigo vats of different strengths to achieve different tones. Instruction on the basics of dipping a gradation of hues will be covered.
Over three days, Aboubakar shows participants how to prepare powdered indigo and how to set up the dye vat. Participants will then dye a set of color gradation samples with Aboubakar’s assistance. Participants will come away with the knowledge to create and maintain their own vats and start working with indigo. They will learn how to achieve the best results with this ancient and singular dye-stuff, from a true master artist.
The Dye Garden is located on the Brooklyn Campus of the Pratt Institute. The garden offers workshops to Pratt Institute and the surrounding community educating on the sustainable and integrative process of natural dyes.
Recognizing the Indigenous knowledge these dyes are based on is central to the garden’s identity, as is an acknowledgement that the garden is built on Lenapehoking territory.
We are fortunate to have the opportunity to use this beautiful outdoor space situated in the heart of Brooklyn for this retreat.
You can read more about the dye garden project here: https://textiledyegarden.pratt.edu/.
June 18th-21st, 2023
This workshop will take place in the Pratt Institute Dye Garden in Brooklyn, NY.
Photographs by Francois Goudier and Katherine Hattori
Born in Mali and raised in France, Aboubakar Fofana is a multidisciplinary artist and designer whose working mediums include calligraphy, textiles and natural dyes. He is known for his work in reinvigorating and redefining West African indigo dyeing techniques, and much of his focus is devoted to the preservation and reinterpretation of traditional West African textile and natural dyeing techniques and materials.
Fofana’s work stems from a profound spiritual belief that nature is divine and that through respecting this divinity we can understand the immense and sacred universe. His raw materials come from the natural world, and his working practice revolves around the cycles of nature, the themes of birth, decay and change, and the impermanence of these materials. He sees the conception and realisation of this work as a form of spiritual practice which is shared with his audience.
Fofana is currently deeply involved in creating a farm in conjunction with the local community in the district of Siby, Mali, in which the two types of indigenous West African indigo will be the centerpiece for a permaculture model based around local food, medicine and dye plants. This project hopes to contribute to the rebirth of fermented indigo dyeing in Mali and beyond, and represents his life’s greatest project to date.