5-Day Stitched Resist Techniques with Aboubakar Fofana
We are excited to announce an online workshop: 5-Day Stitched Resist Techniques with Aboubakar Fofana. Workshop dates are Thursday May 27 through Monday May 31. This class will use traditional Malian stripcloth (finimugu) and Dogon-inspired stitched resist techniques. The Dogon are an ethnic tribe who live in the large central plateau of Mali. The distinctive patterns on indigo are the hallmark of Dogon textiles. They are known for their indigo, sculpture, architecture and animist beliefs. Dogon stripcloth panels are highly prized.
Each participant will receive 5 meters of handwoven stripcloth, suitable for creating a hanging or table runner, or as a decorative panel to a garment. Aboubakar will instruct you how to execute four to five different stitches, join panels and hem the fabric. You will use it to create a sampler of different stitch techniques. Then you will dye them in indigo to reveal the stitched pattern.
He will instruct how to use indigo to create an exceptional textile suitable as a table runner or wall hanging. This is a rare opportunity for an in-depth exploration using traditional finimugu (Malian cotton strip cloth) and indigo for individual creative expression. All the materials are plant or earth-based and organically sourced. The workshop is 5 days, 3 hours per day. It will be taught online from Aboubakar’s atelier in France, or from his legendary studio in Bamako, Mali. The class is conducted in English and is not recorded per the artist’s request. We will also have a TA and moderator available for this workshop who will forward class notes and any supporting information to the participants.
Participants will receive 5 meters of handspun, handwoven traditional Malian cotton strip fabric (finimugu). We will also send you a materials list upon registration for items to have ready for the workshop. Indigo will also be a part of this workshop and assumes you have working knowledge of using an indigo vat. If you already have a working indigo vat of approximately 10-20 gallons (37-75 liters), you may use it for this class. Otherwise, we will direct you to purchase indigo, fructose and calcium hydroxide to make a mid-sized indigo vat that is large enough to accommodate the stitched textile.
Although we are using indigo for this class, the focus will be stitching and construction. Familiarity with indigo is desirable and if you need assistance to build a vat, we will provide detailed instructions upon registration. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.
I wanted to share a little bit more about Malian textiles. Today I wanted to talk about the cotton. Malian cotton is indigenous to this area of West Africa. It is very soft and grows with minimal water. Additionally, it was once available in several colours, but these are almost impossible to find now. It is spun by hand and then woven on a narrow-strip vertical loom. Before the introduction of imported textiles, all clothing was made from these strips, sewn together to make the required width.
The cotton, the weaving and the strips also have very symbolic meaning in Malian cosmology. A newborn baby will wear a string of cotton around his or her waist. This symbolises her connection to the Earth and earthly things. And she never removes it. She is now of the earth and her parents and community assume responsibility for providing everything she (or he) needs. A bride will wear a skirt made of seven widths of strip-woven cotton. In Malian cosmology, seven is the perfect complete number, it represents the whole and unity. Man’s number is three, his penis and his two testes. Woman is four, her sex, her two breasts and she has one more, the power to give life. Together they make seven.
All through Malian symbolism, this number occurs again and again. Ceremonial robes will also have certain numbers of cotton strips. Clothing in West Africa was always considered to be more than just covering, it held power, protection and conveyed information about the wearer. The cotton I use is spun for me on commission. It is then woven using only handspun Malian cotton for both warp and weft.
- We use Zoom videoconferencing for all classes. Please ensure that you have an online internet connection with video to be able to view Aboubakar. He will demonstrate all the techniques using a close-up camera. Also make sure that Aboubakar can view your work when requested, and lighting will be important for this. We will send you information on how to prepare your workspace including a materials list.
- This class is open to international and North American students. International students, please register by May 3 to ensure your materials are sent to you in time. Class dates are Thursday May 27 through Monday May 31 (US Memorial Day). Please note the start time, which is at 8AM Pacific, 11AM Eastern, 5PM France. The class lasts 5 days for approximately 3 hours per session.
- Non-US participants: Please register by Monday May 3 so we can ship class materials to you via DHL. Shipping charges are approximate and we will contact you for additional shipping if necessary. Please allow 5-7 days for materials to reach you. Duties and taxes (if any) will be paid by you.
5-Day Stitched Resist Techniques with Aboubakar Fofana workshop includes:
- Five days intensive study with Aboubakar: May 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31.
- 5 meters finimugu fabric ( a $131 value in materials)
- Aboubakar will provide the updates on the farm and his latest projects.
- We conduct all classes in English.
- We ship all materials from the US and may incur additional shipping charges for international destinations.
All sales are final. This workshop is non-cancellable and non-refundable. We are not able to accommodate schedule changes.
Installment payments are available. Please contact [email protected] for information.
We will provide limited partial scholarships for this class, with the intention of increasing diversity to traditionally marginalized artists. Please fill out this scholarship application form if you would like to be considered. We will award the scholarships by May 1, so it is important to submit your application early. We will keep your application for consideration for future workshops.