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Experience: Shades of Indigo with Aboubakar Fofana in Brooklyn, NY


Shades of Indigo takes place in Brooklyn, New York over the course of 3 days. Dyers will leave having accomplished a range of shade panels and a fluency of touch. Mastery in indigo dyeing can only be achieved when the dyer can produce a predictable shade and this three day workshop is the beginning of your command over this fascinating and ancient blue dyestuff.

In this indigo workshop, Aboubakar Fofana focuses on powdered indigo and setting up a fructose vat. He will teach us to use environmentally friendly techniques and how careful preparation results in a deep beautiful vat, ready for dipping. This workshop will explain the unique chemistry of indigo and principles of setting up and caring for a vat. The workshop will include several large indigo vats of different strengths to achieve different tones. Instruction on the basics of dipping a gradation of hues will be covered.

Aboubakar will speak about the significance of indigo in Malian culture and its medicinal importance. This workshop is open to all levels. Participants will come away with the knowledge to create and maintain their own vats and start working with indigo. 


The Dye Garden is located on the Brooklyn Campus of the Pratt Institute. The garden offers workshops to Pratt Institute and the surrounding community educating on the sustainable and integrative process of natural dyes.

Recognizing the Indigenous knowledge these dyes are based on is central to the garden's identity, as is an acknowledgement that the garden is built on Lenapehoking territory.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to use this beautiful outdoor space situated in the heart of Brooklyn for this workshop.

You can read more about the dye garden project here.


June 14th - 16th 2024   |  10 a.m - 4 p.m. EST daily


June 19th - 21st 2024   |  10 a.m - 4 p.m. EST daily


All materials for the course will be provided. All one need bring is an open mind, and willingness to try new things in a beautiful place, amongst like-minded friends.


Aboubakar Fofana's approach to teaching is much the same as his approach to his own art making.  He brings a practice of deep listening, and a generous spirit. His colorwork is rooted in a cosmology of '12 shades' of blue. These 12 shades are not just variations of color, rather they connect to 12 states of being, or 12 states of understanding of our spiritual world. Aboubakar's knowledge of and relationship to indigo are incredibly deep, as he has spent decades honing the cultivation, growth, and preparation of the plant for dye. To learn with him is a unique and special experience, sure to be enriching and inspiring. 

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