Stitching and Construction Techniques with Aboubakar Fofana – Indigo edition
We are excited to announce an additional online class: 5-Day Stitching and Construction Techniques with Aboubakar Fofana, August 29-September 2. This class will cover the same information as our first workshop but will include the use of indigo rather than mineral mud dyeing. Participants need to be able to have a large (20 gallon or 80 liter) vat to use in this class.
When you look at Aboubakar’s textiles, one of the first things you notice is the meticulous and exquisite stitching, fringe and tassel work of his shawls and wraps. The cotton strip cloth panels are perfectly joined and stitched. The attention to the smallest detail highlights the beautiful colors and skillful dye work of the piece.
Aboubakar will teach his methods for joinery and embellishment and instruct how to use indigo to create an exceptional textile of joined stripcloth. We will learn his techniques for creating twisted fringe, stitching, edgings and other beautiful handwork finishes. to create a 4-panel hand-stitched wrap. In other words, 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 held for 5 days, 3 hours per day and will be taught online from Aboubakar’s atelier in France. He lives in a 12th century village with an ancient chapel and it is a serene location with old stone walls, cooing doves and distant church bells.
Participants will receive about 8 meters (8.7 yards) of handspun, handwoven traditional Malian cotton strip fabric (finimugu), and enough indigo, fructose and calcium hydroxide to make a large indigo vat – approximately 500 grams of indigo, 1000 grams of calcium hydroxide and 1500 grams of fructose. Indigo will feature prominently in this class and requires that you have room for a very large vat (approximately 21 gallons or 80 liters) and that you are familiar with Aboubakar’s indigo vat methods. Please contact [email protected] with any questions on prerequisites.
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, and 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 vagina, 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 and then woven using only handspun Malian cotton for both warp and weft.
- The class will be held via Zoom videoconferencing. Please ensure that you have the ability to have an online internet connection with video to be able to view Aboubakar as 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. Class dates are Saturday August 29 through Wednesday September 2. 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 residents: we will 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.
The workshop includes
- Five days intensive study with Aboubakar: August 29 through September 2.
- 8 meters (8.7 yards) finimugu fabric (approximate length)
- Enough indigo to construct a 1-2-3 vat of approximately 21 gallons (80 liters)
- Aboubakar will present videos on his work, his atelier and indigo farm in Mali.
- Classes are conducted in English.
- All materials will be shipped 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.
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any discounts, work-study or scholarships to this workshop. Contact us for any inquiries or questions about the workshop.