• Image of Athens 6-day stitching, indigo & mud workshop August 28-Sept 2

This six-day workshop is an intimate and immersive experience designed to give participants a working knowledge of the materials and techniques that Aboubakar uses in his own work. Beginning with a two day-stitching workshop, Aboubakar will lead a small group of participants through processes he uses to make a shawl using the hand-spun and hand-woven Malian cotton, called finimugu in Bamanan. Participants will then learn how to set up a fructose indigo vat and will work with this vat and other vats already available, before moving on to explore Aboubakar's other particular medium, mineral mud-dye. Finally, participants will be able to make a choice of which of the two mediums they would like to dye their completed shawl in, and with Aboubakar's assistance they will complete their shawl in the dye-stuff of their choice.

This workshop is planned to take advantage of the height of summer in Athens, as both indigo and mud-dye respond best to warm weather. It will take place in Aboubakar's own studio, where he has everything to hand, and will be limited to 8 participants. There are a number of indigo vats already set up in his studio, and so participants will have ready access to the vats and the space and time to explore the materials and techniques that Aboubakar will present.

The workshop will begin with a two-day examination of the stitching and fringing techniques that Aboubakar uses in his own work, and participants will begin work on their own shawl (which may require extra time outside of the workshop to complete – please factor this in as it would be ideal to complete the shawl before the final stage of the workshop). The next stage will explain the unique chemistry of indigo, principles of setting up and caring for a fructose vat, as well as choice and preparation of the textile to be dyed. Participants will be shown how to prepare powdered indigo and how to set up the dye-vat and dye a small set of samples.

The workshop will then move on to look at the techniques involved in Aboubakar's other speciality, mineral mud-dye. This process uses a naturally occurring tannin as a mordant which helps to fix the iron in the mud to the textile being dyed. It is a lovely, very tactile process, especially if you like mud.
Participants will be shown how to prepare the mordant and the mud as well as the textile to be dyed, and how to apply and fix the colour. Aboubakar uses this technique a lot with very calligraphic designs, and it lends itself beautifully to drawn or painted designs. Once again, Aboubakar will lead participants through sampling techniques for this dyestuff.

Finally, with Aboubakar's assistance, participants will dye their completed hand-sewn shawl in the dyestuff of their choice.

Participants will come away with enough knowledge to set up their own indigo vats and start working with indigo, as well as a deeper understanding of how indigo works and how to achieve the best colour-fast, light-fast and even results with this ancient and singular dye-stuff. They will understand the principles of mineral mud-dyeing as well as the stitching and fringing techniques that Aboubakar uses in his own work. And they will leave with a set of samples of each dyestuff, and their own handmade, naturally-dyed finimugu shawl finished in the dyestuff of their choice.

All materials for this workshop are included in the cost. The exact workshop address will be given out to confirmed participants. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation. The workshop will start at 10am each day and finish at 5pm. If you need to pay in two instalments, please contact us through the contact form and we can discuss this. This workshop will run dependent on the number of participants; we cannot refund a partially- or fully-paid-for space unless the workshop is full and we can resell your space, but you are welcome to give your space to someone else if you find that you cannot attend. For all further questions please fill in the contact form on this website and we will come back to you as soon as possible.