Tuesday, 23 September 2014

An opportunity to learn from Abubakar Fofana of Mali, a master dyer of natural dyes.

I received a phone call from my friend Jinki asking if I would be interested in helping a friend of hers find a venue for natural dye workshops here in the Tweed. They already have a following in Melbourne and would like to venture up to the Northern Rivers. As the story unfolded I couldn’t believe what an incredible opportunity had fallen into my lap…..and yours! An opportunity to learn natural dying from the highly skilled and accomplished master dyer Aboubakar Fofana from Mali.

When I did some research on Aboubakar I discovered articles with beautiful photographs  published in The NewYork Times, Amercian Vogue and other online publications showcasing his work and exhibitions.

Not only that, Aboubakar is a warm engaging character, a natural teacher and keen to share his skills with us.
As any woman obsessed with textiles would, I have jumped at this golden opportunity to help Aboubakar and Johanna fill the workshops. Details are yet to be confirmed what we do know is the workshops will be in February 2015 at Hosanna in Stokers Siding, a venue providing accommodation and self catering for interstate travellers. This is only if we manage to fill the workshops. I think we can do it, help spread the word and lets make it happen! Get your name down on Johanna’s list ASAP!

Here are the links for more info on each workshop:

Here is a little something Johanna his agent wrote:

Aboubakar Fofana was born in West Africa but spent many years living and working in France.  His atelier is in Bamako, Mali, where he and his small team of trained artisans produce unique modern textiles using 100% natural processes and ancient indigenous techniques.
As a child in West Africa, Aboubakar Fofana was told about green leaves that made blue colours. Years later, already a successful calligrapher, artist and graphic designer living in France, he remembered this story, and started on a long journey to understand indigo and his African heritage.
The technique of fermented indigo dyeing using whole indigo leaves had already disappeared  from West Africa by the time Fofana first heard about it, replaced by synthetic dyes.  Fofana pieced together the technique by reading and asking, and by trial and error. It took many years to understand the process and longer again to master this difficult but unmatchable method of dyeing.  And he is still learning.
His work reflects the living materials he uses, harnessing their cycles of birth, life and decay, and the seasonal rhythms of nature. His indigo vats are alive as well, the colour a visible imprint of these natural cycles, and the most challenging part of his work is understanding and working with the living things to allow these colours to become visible.
He uses fine natural fabrics to take up these colours, with a preference for the luxurious organic Malian cotton, handspun and handwoven, that many of his pieces are made from.
Fofana is dedicated to preserving this tradition of fermented indigo dyeing, along with other West African textile techniques and indigenous materials.  His work has been exhibited all over the world.