3-Day Online Mineral Mud-Dyeing Workshop with Aboubakar Fofana




3-Day Online Mineral Mud-Dyeing Workshop with Aboubakar Fofana

Three years ago, I had the great fortune to take a mineral mud-dyeing class from Aboubakar Fofana.  In addition to his impressive indigo skills, Aboubakar is an expert in calligraphy. He draws from a lineage of bogolanfini to introduce us to the world of minerals and mud.

Therefore, this year we are thrilled to be able to offer the mineral mud-dyeing workshop.  The workshop will focus on traditional Malian mud as the medium and your own creativity as the path to working with this amazing substance.  Aboubakar will guide us through the use of a dried leaf tannin (n’galama) to prepare the fabric. After that, we use the mud to create our designs.  Each participant will work on small samples and then complete a larger project during the 3-day class.

In 2005, I traveled to Mali, West Africa on a singular search for traditional mudcloth, or bogolanfini. However, all I knew was that this was a handspun and handwoven cloth that was decorated with graphic designs. In addition, it was made from mud that held secret and cultural powers. Above all, people in Bamana culture use these for rites of passage. So our team traveled throughout tiny remote villages. We also visited women elders who made mudcloth using simple tools to create secret and beautiful designs. Each artist had a closely guarded recipe for the mud. Each artist knew how to mix, ferment and enrich this very elemental ingredient to make magic. It was fascinating to see how using a stick, a hollowed-out dried gourd and some humble fabric, these women artists created masterpieces with this mysterious mud.

3-day Online Mineral Mud-dyeing Workshop with Aboubakar Fofana

Choose One Session

SOLD OUT: June 23, 24 and 25 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) – Session I

July 21, 22, 23  (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) – Session II

This is an online class and we will ship materials to you and provide you with a Zoom videoconferencing link.  The class hours are 8AM-11AM (Pacific).  The class will practice on traditional Malian strip cloth (finimugu) using special fermented mud paste that Aboubakar gathered.  The final project will be a small item such as a scarf that you will prepare and design using traditional materials.

The workshop includes

  • Three days intensive study with Aboubakar on mineral mud-dyeing
  • All sampling materials and mud and dyes from Mali including n’galama leaves and fermented mud.
  • Aboubakar will present videos and stories of his mud-gathering feats
  • A moderator/TA will accompany each class.

Materials that you supply

  • A dye pot and burner to simmer n’galama leaves to make tannin.  The pot should be approximately 4-5 quarts (4-5 liters).
  • Inexpensive paint brushes. Do not use your high quality brushes as they will be ruined.
  • A covering for your work area like plastic sheeting or oilcloth.
  • An area to dry your work (drying rack, outdoor clothesline)
  • Fabric for a final project.  You may choose any natural fiber, but cotton, linen and hemp work well.  Estimate a piece about a meter square.
  • Old strainer to strain tannin leaves.

A note for international students

It will be extremely difficult to have you join us for this class as we are shipping raw dye materials and they may be confiscated due to import restrictions in your country.  In addition, many international postal services are on reduced, delayed or suspended services due to Covid-19.  For this reason, we are unable to accommodate students outside of the North America.  If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].


  • We recognize that our lives have been severely disrupted by Covid-19, the economic collapse and current anti-racist protests, and that this class may be out of financial reach for marginalized artists, especially Black, Indigenous, LatinX, LGBTQ, and other POC.  We are offering a limited number of partial scholarships to join these classes.  If you are interested, please email [email protected] to receive an application. Please note if we are unable to accommodate you for our current workshop, you will automatically be entered into consideration for the next workshop.


All sales are final. This workshop is non-cancellable and non-refundable.

Botanical Colors reserves the right to cancel classes in the unlikely event of circumstances beyond our control. If a class is cancelled, Botanical Colors’ responsibility and liability are limited to a refund of class fees.  We will send you a check within 30 days of cancellation.

pour mud
Simple artist's tools. Photo by Kathy Hattori
photo by Kathy Hattori
Artist Nakunte Diarra paints on a calabash
Photo by Kathy Hattori

Additional information

Choose a Session

Session I June 23-25, Session II July 21-23


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