Whilst everyone in New York was recovering from Market week, over in East London some seriously hard work was taking place over the weekend in the name of indigo craft. African indigo aficionado, Aboubakar Fofana held an exclusive indigo dying workshop in Choolips Studios where only a select class of 8 were invited. Fofana is globally known as an exceptionally knowledgable indigo master. He currently travels between his original home in Bamako, Mali and his second home in Paris, where he has been settled for over 30 years... with regular trips to Japan, of course!
Fofana is one of the few people in the world to still practise Mali’s lost tradition of natural indigo and vegetable dying and its his aim to keep the tradition alive by spreading his knowledge through workshops.
Whilst I was in NY, my buddies Sadia and Mohsin of Endrime Denim took part in the workshop, taking gorgeous photos (thank you Sadia!) and making notes. Its a course I’d love to take part in some day and I feel that anyone who works in Denim should make a point of learning the craft and the science behind such a unique process as indigo dying.
Here’s what went down:
Over the three day course, Fofana taught the class to set up a natural indigo fructose vat from scratch using solid indigo blocks. They also learned how to dye up to 7 different intensities of indigo (from a possible range of 1 to 20 dips) and how to intensify natural indigo dying. He expelled the myth that indigo is not a colourfast dye and the students learned how to fix fabrics and yarns so that they are 100% color fast. He also took them through various other techniques such as shibori dyeing, rice paste resist dye techniques, batik resist and tie dye resist.
They dyed with organic cotton and linen, silk and wool over the three days and learned the subtle differences in reactions between these varying fibres.
For more info, check out Sadia's Instagram page and stay tuned for more info from her as word on the street has it she has something planned for the gorgeous set of images.