The Sweet Blue with Aboubakar Fofana and Threads of Life
13th to 16th March 2017
A 4-day fructose vat indigo workshop combining the colour and wisdom of Mali and Indonesia for a unique small-group intensive experience (space limited to 10 participants) at the Threads of Life dye studio and botanical garden in Umajati Retreat, Ubud, Bali
Workshop teacher Aboubakar Fofana (image by Sandy Haessner), Threads of Life dyers Komang Sujata (left), and Wayan Sukadana (right)
Indigo is Aboubakar Fofana's particular passion and he has a vast store of knowledge on its provenance, usage, and practical applications. This 4-day workshop focusses on the use of powdered indigo and setting up a fructose vat using entirely non-synthetic and environmentally (and skin!) friendly techniques. Unlike indigo leaves, powdered indigo is quite easy to source, and the fructose vat is relatively straightforward to put together and to use. The workshop explains the chemistry of indigo, principles of setting up and caring for a fructose vat, as well as choice and preparation of the textiles to be dyed.
Participants will experience the difference between powdered and fresh indigo during a day spent preparing indigo direct from the Threads of Life dye garden with the studio’s resident dyers. A fermented indigo vat that Aboubakar will have been preparing over the previous two weeks will also be available.
Participants attain enough knowledge to set up their own vats and start working with indigo, as well as a deeper understanding of how indigo works and how to achieve the best colourfast, light-fast and even results with this ancient and singular dye-stuff. Each participant will dye and take home a set of samples, and work on a larger project of their own with Aboubakar's assistance.
Aboubakar Fofana was born in Mali and raised in France, and is a calligrapher, textile designer, artist and master dyer. His work is motivated by a love for the natural world and its cycles and rhythms, a deep concern for the environment, and a vision to share the luxury and beauty of goods produced using indigenous materials and techniques whilst helping to reinvigorate and sustain important traditions. His atelier is in Bamako, Mali, and he regularly travels the world giving workshops and lectures, and meeting others who work with natural dyes and textiles.
Threads of Life’s staff dyers and botanists, Komang Sujata, Wayan Sukadana and Made Maduarta, bring a combined 35 years of experience to this collaborative workshop. Focusing on traditions that have degraded and are being recovered, they document local recipes and processes in the field, and test them in the studio before taking suggested refinements back to the communities. In the dye garden they establish cultivation and harvesting methods to address plant resource scarcity being faced by traditional dyers.
Aboubakar and Threads of Life share an approach to natural dyeing that seeks plant-sourced dyes by plant-sourced processes and avoids synthetic additives or mordants. And where Aboubakar finds the root of this approach in his West African animistic heritage, Threads of Life’s staff dyers find their inspiration in the animistic practices articulated through Indonesia’s indigenous textile traditions. Bringing these two traditions together promises to be a vibrant and exciting experience. As Aboubakar says, the work is about reviving as a “5000 year old story of ancient technology now given a contemporary language”.
From the Aboubakar Workshop (left), weaving indigo-dyed sisal rugs (right)
Payment, Cancellation and Refund Policy
Payment will be made through PayPal via an automatic link in the booking website. You do not need to have a PayPal account to make a payment; PayPal will simply be used to process your credit card payment.
Cancellation and Refunds
Cancellation requests must be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The date of cancellation is the date on which the written cancellation is received in Bali. No refund will be made for failure to attend or if you voluntarily leave the workshop for any reason after it has begun. No refunds will be given for any accommodation, transport, sightseeing, meals or services not used during the workshop. Cancellation may be made at any time and refunds will be reversed directly from PayPal to your PayPal account or credit card with the following conditions:
• During Early Bird registration period and within 60 days of making the booking, a 100% refund will be made.
• During Early Bird registration period but more than 60 days after making the booking, a 95% refund will be made.
• From after the early bird registration period up to 91 days before the workshop, a 75% refund will be made.
• From 90 days before the workshop up to 61 days before the workshop, a 50% refund will be made.
• From 60 days before the workshop up to 31 days before the workshop, a 25% refund will be made.
• Within 30 days of the workshop, no refund will be made.
Travel insurance is required for all participants. Travel insurance should, at minimum, provide coverage against personal accident, personal liability, medical expenses, and emergency evacuation. (An emergency air medical evacuation to Singapore can cost upwards of USD 30,000.) Medical care facilities in Indonesia are significantly different from the West and medical evacuation is extremely expensive.