In 2005, I traveled to Mali, West Africa on a singular search for traditional mudcloth, or bogolanfini. All I knew was that this was a handspun and handwoven cloth that was decorated with graphic designs made from mud that held secret and cultural powers and were used for rites of passage in Bamana culture. Our team traveled throughout tiny remote villages, visiting women elders who made mudcloth using simple tools to create secret and beautiful designs. Each artist had a closely guarded recipe for the mud and 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.
Two years ago, I had the great fortune to take a mud dyeing class from Aboubakar Fofana. In addition to his impressive indigo skills, Aboubakar has a background in calligraphy and he draws from a lineage of bogolanfini to introduce us to the world of minerals and mud. This year we are thrilled to be able to offer this workshop again in Seattle. 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 to prepare the fabric and then the artful grinding and mixing of the mud to create our mix. Each participant will work on small samples and then complete a larger project during the 3-day class.
The workshop will be held outdoors under a covered canopy in the glorious Seattle summertime. There is plenty of room to spread out and it is conveniently across the street from Botanical Colors’ studio in a quiet neighborhood setting. During class, we offer refreshments and beverages, and there are numerous nearby restaurants, cafes and a natural foods market that has a large gluten-free and organic food selection.
We will also have a pop-up featuring Aboubakar’s textiles and treasures from his atelier for sale.
The workshop includes
- Three days intensive study with Aboubakar on mineral mud-dyeing
- Small class format – limited to 12 participants, all skill levels
- All sampling materials and mud and dyes from Mali
- Aboubakar will present videos and stories of his mud-gathering feats
- Access to Kathy’s library on African textiles featuring mudcloth
- Access to Kathy’s traditional mudcloth examples
- Light refreshments and beverages
All sales are final. This workshop is non-cancellable and non-refundable. If you are unable to attend, you may name a replacement up to 30 days prior to the workshop start date, which is June 23, 2019. After this date, we cannot accept changes to the class roster and no replacements will be allowed. We are not trying to be harsh; we tried to accommodate changes with a wait list last year and it became a huge logistics problem.
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 not be held responsible for charges related to travel expenses, air tickets, travel insurance, etc.
We regret that we are unable to offer any discounts, work-study or scholarships to this workshop. Contact us for any inquiries or questions about the workshop.